The U.S. Army’s Warplane Recognition Guide Is Hilariously Wrong
Army reference book can't tell an F-35 from a J-20
The U.S. Army publishes an official “Visual Aircraft Recognition” manual whose purpose, according to the manual itself, is to “assist the user in the technique of identifying friendly, hostile or foreign-country aircraft.”
“This manual provides information on current operational aircraft that may be observed worldwide or in the combat area,” the manual states. So that Army missileers and gunners can figure, you know, which airplanes to shoot down and which to leave alone.
So … there’s a problem. In February 2016, the Army published its first updates to the manual since 2006. And this update adds some gross, even hilarious errors. Louis Gundlach, a retired fighter pilot, first pointed out the errors and aviation aggregator Alert 5 drew attention to Gundlach’s pointers.
For starters, this is not an F-35.
This is not a MiG-27.
Nor is it a Viggen.
And this is a MiG-27, but the manual thinks it’s a MiG-23.
The Army might want to hurry and update the recognition guide again. Otherwise Army air-defenders could spend a decade believing Chinese J-20s are American F-35s.