ED dev gets arrested for smuggling F-16 manuals out of the US



Link for EU members:


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Oh dear


So what I gather from that news article, this happened in 2011, as in a request to an eBay seller to forward to him manuals being sold in the US. There was then a sealed indictment for arrest in 2016 because of export restrictions on those docs, and then he was arrested in Georgia recently where he was visiting, and extradited to the US (in mid-March 2019, maybe earlier).

Knowing what we know about flight sims here, this probably has a different angle than for a lot of people reading this.

No wonder wags was feeling under the weather for a bit. I wonder what the word on this will be from ED…

Sort of reminds me of this, but perhaps more serious.

The Homeland Security undercover agent contacting him in 2016 seems to be the more serious part, in that he said he would like to acquire F-35 and F-22 flight manuals as well.

This is horrible news. Shows how important it is to stay on the white side of that grey area and the potential costs for adding more realism.

I sincerely hope they go light on him. I believe that it was 100% in service to our beloved hobby.

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An employee of the Swedish War Archives lost his job for not censoring the Rb15 info in the otherwise un-classified Viggen documents that either was posted on the ED forum, or used by Heatblur, for the Viggen module.
NB! Nothing of this was ED’s or Heatblurs fault, but still…

This is also why checked with SAAB and the SwAF, before starting my Viggen Stick project.
Can’t be too careful…

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I can see there being an issue with F35 and F22 manuals, but the F16 is one of the most widely exported jets out there… Apart from the latest avionics, the design is over 40 years old. Hopefully this will get thrown out of court.

I want to say this is very bad news, in so far as it makes ED look bad especially being based in Russia. The mentioning of F22 and 35 does not help in any way - those would be obviously no-go areas. Perhaps a thread to our hobby and it’s continued development as this will raise barriers to information potentially too.

Whoo boy, this is quite a minefield. It’s very easy to run afoul of these acts and regulations, even if one didn’t have intent of violating them.

For example: ITAR, International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which was intended for defense articles sent outside the USA. A few years back, some bureaucrats got a burr up their butts and decided that ITAR needed to apply domestically as well. A gunsmith that only operates domestically would be required to pay a ~$2,200 fee to register just to do basic gunsmithing tasks like barrel work, such as cutting a chamber or threading a muzzle. It was absolutely pointless and a vast overreach by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats who should have been starving in the streets instead of bilking the taxpayer. I believe those particular regulations were modified last year via executive order, but there were a lot of folks technically violating the law because gunsmiths don’t exactly roll in the dough for putting a new barrel in or truing the action.

At the end of the day, this could turn into a complete misunderstanding or it could blow a hole right into our hobby – all of which is based upon whether or not a gov’t employee needs to find a way to justify his job or not.

One thing I didn’t realize on first reading was the undercover agent got involved as a buyer of manuals, in that the defendant was reselling manuals:

eBay warned Tishchenko in February 2016 that his auctions of flight manuals were legally questionable, the affidavit said.

Agents said they obtained eBay records and learned that Tishchenko, from January 2012 through September 2015, auctioned F-16 flight manuals to buyers in Cyprus, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Taiwan.

Depends what he has …the 2007 CM they were doing could still have some pretty sensitive front line stuff in it…this whole thing seems way off because they should have access to the information if it has been agreed shirley…

As for F-22/35 manuals if he actually got them that would be a slight problem.

Oh, boy…

So, if he was arraigned on March 15, ED has known about this at least 2 months. If it affected the Viper’s future in DCSW, wouldn’t they have mentioned it by now? Anyway, if there was not harm intended, here’s hoping that they don’t wish to make an example out of a sim publisher. I’m not advocating breaking the law, but rather if game development is as far as the docs went, I’d hate to see the press paint it as major espionage in order to boost readership.


Perhaps they are seeking legal advice as the sounds of the behavior involve wouldn’t be supported by the company. How they handle it is going to be a very delicate procedure. Potentially they have to prove that any work they have done wasn’t based on ill-gotten materials, on potentially every module.

I definitely would not want to be in their shoes right now.

I was flying once with a former Marine Helo guy who flew the banana shaped helicoper (CH-46, maybe?). He said that it was so fast that they had to slow down for Cobras. To which I said, “Really? How fast does it go?” “Sorry, I can’t tell you, it’s still classified.” We had a good laugh over that but he was serious and he never did tell me. So yeah it is mostly nonsense but anyone with two neurons to rub together knows how seriously the US takes this stuff. I have very little sympathy for his plight.


@nineline statement concerning ED response:



CH-46 is correct and it’s no longer in US mil service. Further, just about anything could outrun a loaded AH-1; it was/is notoriously underpowered and overloaded.

The rules about this stuff is often ridiculous and silly, but rules are rules. The problem I have is when certain people – especially at the higher levels – think they can ignore them when it suits them.


That was the sort of response I was anticipating. Not the time for quick, rash & emotional decisions.

I will happily forego a patch or two if it would ease the burden on their minds.

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Reading @NineLine’s post above sorta hits home how serious this is not just for the individual but for ED as well. If this world, by which I mainly mean: my country, wasn’t so crazy right now I would laugh this off as something that will blow over soon enough as it did with Bohemia. But we do live in this nutty new world and this could, with emphasis, be lights out. I can see Lindsey Graham already, standing on the Senate floor—showing a video of the DCS Hornet (flying from an Iranian base no less) and warning of the terrorist threat that comes with sharing such a deep understanding of relatively modern American hardware.