Just in time for the Paris Air Show, a 100-year-old display of military might at Le Bourget Airport attended by hundreds of thousands, Lockheed Martin has rolled out a new website to showcase its latest, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It's a nice site, complete with mind-blowing statistics and in-depth design and development details, but it's all propaganda.
One page, meant to show the impact of the F-35 includes a mouse-over graphic displaying only the number of jobs that Lockheed Martin claims credit for. (Five direct jobs in Wisconsin! Eight in Idaho!) Others are loaded with hyperbole: In a page about how one of the F-35's core principles is "lethal," we're told it "was designed to dominate the skies." So, too, I think, was Airbus' massive A320 -- but that was no match for a flock of Canada geese. And lets not forget the video. The video!
A 30-second spot, embedded below, that actually debuted last year, according to Wired's Danger Room, "as an all-purpose promo for Lockheed aviation products like the F-22 Raptor of the C-130 cargo plant," this music video is meant to make Lockheed look hip. "All the kids in the back of the club want the military to keep producing the most expensive plane in history," Spencer Ackerman quips. "What, you didn't know." I'm not convinced, but I'm also the one who hides under his hoodie and groans when a commercial for the U.S. military is shown before a movie; I can't believe that people are swayed by this stuff in any direction.
Either way, Lockheed is just doing what it needs to do. If more people knew how much this thing cost, they'd need even more convincing that it was really, really cool. Producing a music video -- with "real musicians mostly from the Fort Worth area" -- cost Lockheed only a fraction of the Pentagon's latest lifetime estimate for building and maintaining a fleet of F-35s: One trillion dollars.
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