Bizarre: Former F-35 test pilot uses conspiracy theories to attack stealth fighter critics
Canada’s most important National Defence reporter, David Pugliese, writes in the Ottawa Citizen that the public relations war over the F-35 stealth fighter jet is entering a new phase.
This weekend peace activists will be gathering in Ottawa for what is being called the Global Mobilization to Stop Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the F-35.
Pugliese notes that in the lead-up to the proposed $19-billion deal, there have been dueling narratives on social media and in mainstream news outlets.
“Social activist groups have held webcasts to drive home their contention the F-35 will be a money pit for taxpayers,” says Puugliese. “They have cited concerns by U.S. lawmakers, including those from March 2021 when Adam Smith, head of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, called for the F-35 program to be shut down. The aircraft “doesn’t work particularly well” and is too expensive to maintain, he noted. ‘I want to stop throwing money down that particular rathole,’ Smith said.”
The pro-stealth fighter lobby and the Liberal government are using the prospect of job-creation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine to justify the controversial choice of the F-35 – a plane Justin Trudeau said he’d never buy.
And in a bizarre twist, Pugliese says a pilot-turned-pitchman is using conspiracy theories to promote the F-35. “Former Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn…who left the firm in October 2020, promotes Lockheed corporate talking points mixed with conspiracy-fuelled rhetoric,” says Pugliese.
Flynn has accused reporters critical of the F-35 of being “turncoats” and “bought-off” by Boeing, Lockheed Martin’s competitor. He’s also alleged a former Liberal MP is “in bed” with Boeing but has provided no proof.
Former F-35 test pilot and Lockheed Martin pitchman Billie Flynn
- Read “Analysis: Public relations war over the F-35 stealth fighter jet enters new phase” by David Pugliese published on April 21, 2022 by the Ottawa Citizen.
(Cover: CLEVELAND, OHIO / USA – September 1, 2019: A United States Air Force F-35 Lightning II performs a demo at the 2019 Cleveland Airshow. Via Shutterstock)