Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An illustration of futility

You know, this isn't really even an aviation post. It involves no real aircraft. In the end, it's mostly about two things: psychology and arrogance. And maybe a third: bad Photoshopping.

Remember how Iran rolled out its deadly new stealth fighter a few days ago? The one that had about as much chance of flying as a Ford Pinto? Well, the Internet was quite aflutter over how there was basically no chance the F-313 could either avoid radar or fly, let alone both. Iran's response yesterday is equal parts troubling and hilarious.

They released this photo as proof that screw you, Internet, the F-313 is so totally a functional, deadly and awesome-looking plane.

Soaring majestically over its enemies, or maybe just big a mountain.

I... I don't... sigh. Here, let me use another picture to sum up my reaction.

I call it "the Iranian salute."

The issues with this, ahem, "proof" are so obvious that this Arabic-language blog, harfhaye-nagofte-elham, sums them up perfectly even if you don't speak Arabic.

Yeah, Iran. Really? What is the mindset behind releasing a photo like this that takes essentially no expertise to undress? Do you think the rest of the world--literally, everyone connected to the Internet--is that dumb?

My guess is no. This is more meant for domestic consumption. Which in many ways is even more troubling. Iran has good universities that produce lots of well-trained scientists and academics. The country's leaders must think tremendously little of their population if they expect them to believe this clumsy "look at me!" stunt is actually reality.

As far as PR exercises go, this is an abject failure. The external audience can see through it and laugh. The domestic audience can see through it and wonder why their government thinks they're simpletons. And there's not even any point in talking about it as a legitimate weapons program.

In short: no matter how you look at it, the F-313 just doesn't fly.

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