TYR Tactical

Attention US Army – That’s Not What An F-35 Looks Like

The US Army just released an updated edition of TC 3.01-80, ‘Visual Aircraft Recognition’, the old FM 44-80.

This manual is written as a reference 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. It can be used as source material for personnel conducting unit training in visual aircraft recognition (VACR). The procedures in this publication apply throughout the United States Army. The data contained herein is based on the best information available at the time of publication; however, it is not all-inclusive because of some classification guidelines. This publication, by nature, has a built-in time lag, and some aircraft may still be under development or classified at the time of writing, but may be fielded or unclassified at, or after, publication.

Unfortunately, they misidentified something rather major, like the aircraft that the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy are all pinning their hopes and dreams on; the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

This is the image they assigned to the new F-35…but it’s not an F-35.

Thanks to the diligent USAF JTACs who caught this!

40 Responses to “Attention US Army – That’s Not What An F-35 Looks Like”

  1. Gizmo says:

    It also requires you to think in Russian

    • Gizmo says:

      Correction…think in Chinese, possibly Mandarin

      • KissMyWookiee says:

        I guess the writing of that field-manual was outsourced to an offshore company in China? (Just like everything else these days)

  2. PAug says:

    Is it too ironic that the aircraft depicted appears to be the Chinese copy of the F-35?

    • Philip says:

      No, this is a Chengdu J-20, the Chinese response (and near-facsimile) to the F-22.

      The craft you’re thinking of is the Shenyang J-31…which aside from a few miniscule features is an almost dead ringer of the JSF.

  3. Mike Honcho says:

    War is Boring did an interesting article on this a couple weeks back; apparently there are quite a few incorrectly identified airplanes in that manual. Apparently proofreading & fact checking weren’t in the budget.

    • Jason says:

      Different field, but the “new and improved” AR 670-1 is littered with mistakes.

      It has the old Combat diver badge, for instance, which was changed years ago.

      • Seamus says:

        I agree, the new AR 670-1 was all sorts of screwed up. It shows pictures of the old green class As when it is talking about the new ASUs in places. Not to mention the picture doesn’t always match the verbiage (i.e. OCS rank insignia on ASU collar)

  4. CWG says:

    They should have used a Oscar Mayer Mobile schematic. After all it doesn’t matter, with 28% of the defense budget dedicated to kinda supporting nuke silos, sorta supporting ground force maneuver, and totally supporting total air control of that war that probs wont happen – im sure Soldiers will never even see an F35 in the air, let alone need to identify one.

    Does lookin fricken cool tho 😀

  5. ThatBlueFalcon says:

    Does it really matter what’s in the manual? We’ll never see one fly CAS in order to visually identify it!

  6. Brett says:

    In an alternate reality…

    1939: The British mistakenly put a BF-109 on their aircraft recognition charts where a Spitfire was supposed to go.

    2016: Sie alle sprechen Deutsch.

    • Adamn says:

      That was what I thought. Good job with this little diversion and misinformation. Damn, someone’s good.

  7. Todd Schooler says:

    Does it come with rear firing rockets?

  8. Aims says:

    Would I be giving the Army too much credit if I said this could be an effort at intentionally putting out incorrect info? You know, in order to feed bad intel to our enemies that are grabbing this kind of stuff off of open source? Because every US service member should know what the F-35 looks like without having to have a manual tell them. But this kind of misdirection could possibly fool a foreign adversary, maybe, right? No I’m giving the Army too much credit.

    • SSD says:

      That is the dumbest thing I’ve read all week. Have you met the average Soldier? “I’m in the Army, why do I need to know what an airplane looks like?” There’s the profession of arms and then there are people who are in the Army.

      • Aims says:

        I’m glad I could give you some entertainment. I guess you don’t know what sarcasm is or how to detect it over the internet. Also cool how you disparage an entire branch. So professional.

      • ParatrooperJJ says:

        Hey that’s what the IFF is for…..

  9. BAP45 says:

    So in other words stick to google for your identification needs?

  10. AbnMedOps says:

    “Horizontal stabilizer’ must be too hard to spell, so the Army comes up with “tail flats”. Oh well, this is the same Army that couldn’t pronounce that durn foreign word “carabiner”, so “snap link” was coined.

    • GMK says:

      From the country where “barrel” is too difficult to spell. BBL, anyone?

    • Bill says:

      Landing gear is that “thing that goes up.” And “biner” might be racist. And you definitely can’t put them on a rack, that’s sexist.

  11. Graham says:

    And the picture labelled Mig 27 is actually a Tornado

  12. Tom says:

    “Armament….rockets” and “Oval instakes”…seriously!?

  13. tazman66gt says:

    Hell, they say the engines on the A-10 are mounted internally and the intake and exhaust are at the wing roots, and that was just the first plane on the list.

  14. tazman66gt says:

    says the Mig-29 has one engine, when clearly in the drawing it is two, and it is a dual engine fighter, smh.
    soko j-22…country of origin, USA…no, Yugoslavia
    Viggen and Tornado are same drawing
    Mig-19 two engines, should be one
    Those are just the glaring instances of stupidity that I could find just glancing though this basically worthless piece of excrement.

  15. Disco says:

    Well now what?!

  16. tictac says:

    The description sounds like an F/A-18

  17. Ex11A says:

    You think anyone in the Army is actually ever going to see an F-35?

  18. Brett says:

    As an experiment tried drawing some of the aircraft based on their descriptions only, chosen at random, and not knowing what aircraft they describe (didn’t want to pollute the scribbles with preconceived notions). The results are humorous, to say the least.

  19. Riceball says:

    I like how it describes as having missiles mounted on the wing tips when one of its primary features is its internal weapons bay.

  20. Mick says:

    This whole thing is hilarious to me.

    On top of that, keeping with The Army Way, I bet you the author got an ARCOM out of it.


  21. MAJ S says:

    Given the rapid rollout rate of the F-35, this is likely a picture of how it is projected to look when it finally makes its combat debut.

    In roughly the year 2100….