Twitter handles have come up with the quirkiest posts on popular defense equipment, spinning satirical information on submarines and fighter jets.
Most importantly, the comical tweets are about troubled, expensive, and big-ticket defense aerospace programs, which have frequently been in the news owing to their military accidents, technical breakdowns, or tendency to keep throwing up billions of dollars in development, procurement, and maintenance costs that far exceed their budgeted expenditure.
F-35’s “Stealth Tech” Unveiled On April Fool’s Day
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (@theF35JPO) mockingly tweeted: “Today, we’re announcing the F-35 Lightning II’s latest cloaking technology, called “B.O.L.T” – Battle Optimization Lightning Tracker. With the use of this advanced technology, we can fully make the plane disappear. However, we’re still working on a way to hide the pilot.”
Making a joke out of the F-35s stealth capabilities and the American lead in the technology, it touched upon a long-running debate in the military community, which points out how stealth is overhyped and costly, often using the F-35 to make their case. In other words, a stealth aircraft is technically never fully undetectable by radar, and any more enhancement in that area would only imply having to make the plane visually invisible!
Today, we're announcing the F-35 Lightning II’s latest cloaking technology, called “B.O.L.T” – Battle Optimization Lightning Tracker. With the use of this advanced technology, we can fully make the plane disappear. However, we’re still working on a way to hide the pilot. pic.twitter.com/shsCYF7hBu
— F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (@theF35JPO) April 1, 2023
The fighter is usually in the news for the wrong reasons, either owing to a crash, a technical glitch that grounds the fleet, or adverse reports by either the air force or American lawmakers on its delays and cost overruns.
The F-35 by 2021 had recorded cost overruns of $412 billion from $398 billion, according to a Department of Defense (DoD) report in September of that year. More than 875 F-35s have been delivered globally, and twelve air forces have declared the aircraft operational.
By December 2022, the cost of a project to upgrade the F-35’s cockpit computer had risen by $680 million, nearly doubling the original 2018 contract worth $712. Thus, the delivery of the first jet with the upgraded hardware and software would go beyond the scheduled July 2023 deadline.
The jet has high long-term sustainment costs, mission-capable rates, and spare engine stocks. The jet is also technically tedious, suffering multiple bugs, including problems with its stealth coating, sustained supersonic flight, helmet-mounted display, excessive vibration from its cannon, and even vulnerability to being hit by lightning.
British Submarine Aquabatics Team?
Navy Lookout (@NavyLookout) said something even more unbelievable and hilarious in its post – it announced the formation of a submarine display team. “The Royal Navy is pleased to announce the formation of the nuclear submarine display team.
Fully funded from the MoD budget, the Defence Secretary said: “every penny spent will be a great investment in promoting global Britain overseas and er… under the seas”.” The handle is a leading follower of the Royal Navy issues, and its analyses and posts are referred to by many in the military fraternity.
The Royal Navy is pleased to announce the formation of the nuclear submarine display team.
Fully funded from the MoD budget, the Defence Secretary said: "every penny spent will be a great investment in promoting global Britain overseas and er… under the seas" pic.twitter.com/8fAHeQrOi3
— Navy Lookout (@NavyLookout) April 1, 2023
Whether the political reference to Britain’s current globalist agenda of ‘Global Britain’ was intended is unknown, but it nevertheless served as a stinging joke on the project.
Reeling under acute economic duress, unprecedented inflation, and a cost of living crisis, Global Britain, aimed at reinventing the United Kingdom’s failing diplomatic and strategic heft in regions of its former colonies, has not been able to take hold the way it was hoped.
Hardliner critics perceive it as the Constitutional Monarchy trying to glorify its dark imperial days. Others view it as a desperate attempt to hold on to waning influence since it is not backed by formidable economic or military influence while being subordinate to the US’s campaign to ramp up a coalition in its Great Power Contest against China.
Meanwhile, the nuclear submarine display team has been named in a way that makes for a slight adult acronym – the Submarine-Nuclear Underwater Display Team (SUBNUDIST). And apart from promoting trade and defense diplomacy, it will also promote British alcohol consumption!
However, while these two handles may have come up with clever and witty satires on defense programs on April Fool’s Day, the practice has long been pioneered by a leading handle @RAF_Luton, that has been making parodies on the British and American militaries regardless of whether it’s that time of the year.
Luton has been cracking its 138,000 followers up by spinning whacky fictional information on various military photographs, often heading into the bizarre and outlandish.