Flight Sim Developer Arrested For Selling F-16 Manuals [Update]

A Russian national is currently being held in Weber County, Utah, after being arrested and charged with “conspiring against the United States, smuggling and violating the Arms Export Control Act”. All over what he claims are some manuals he was using to make a flight sim.

As the Standard-Examiner reports, from 2011-2015, Oleg Mikhaylovich Tishchenko was active on eBay purchasing manuals for actual USAF fighter jets. The problem was that, as a Russian, he was barred from purchasing the documents directly due to international restrictions, and so he employed the help of flight sim fans based in the US to bid on his behalf and then ship the manuals to him in Russia.

Tishchenko—who claimed he was an employee of Eagle Dynamics, developers of the DCS series, and that the manuals were to help with development of the ultra-realistic games—soon became the subject of an investigation by Homeland Security and the Air Force, and was actually charged back in 2016. He was only recently arrested this year when he travelled to Georgia, a country with an extradition agreement with the US.

It’s alleged that Tishchenko got hold of manuals for the F-16, F-35, F-22 and A-10, which he proceeded to list on eBay and sell again, to purchasers in “Cyprus, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Taiwan.”

An unnamed Texas man who assisted Tishchenko by purchasing manuals and sending them to him in Russia was also charged, but last week had his charges dropped.

We’ve contacted Eagle Dynamics to confirm whether Tishchenko is or was an employee of the studio.

UPDATE 17/05: In a statement on the Eagle Dynamics’ forums, senior producer Matt Wagner writes:

The Eagle Dynamics group, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, confirms that one of its employees has been jailed in the State of Utah (USA) on charges of seeking to procure, export and sell restricted US fighter jet manuals, in particular the F-16.

Eagle Dynamics confirms that it was not involved in any way in the actions of its employee who acted in a purely private context and for his own personal interests.

The Company develops all of its DCS aircraft game modules exclusively on the basis of publicly available information and has never used nor tried to obtain any classified information.

The Company launched an internal investigation into the actions of its employee, and found nothing in the company’s records that relates to the facts that are being held against him. The investigation confirmed in particular that no company resources were used and that no export restricted documents were obtained or stored within the company’s systems. Furthermore, the Company confirms that the employee was not involved in any of the work or research pertaining to the development of the Company’s upcoming F-16 module.

The development of the F-16 and other modules currently in the pipeline will continue in order to further enhance the simulation experience of DCS World. These events will not affect Eagle Dynamics’ commitment to its users and faithful community.


Comments

    All these manuals are available by PDF on the internet. I wonder what Homeland Security is thinking...

    Given the disaster that is the f35 program, i think the last thing the Russians want to do is copy American jet fighters.

      The F22 was superior in almost every single way, really dunno why they took a step back and called it the next generation

        Simple. Money.

          Giving up the technological edge that gave you your advantage over your most significant strategic adversary for the sake of saving money is not generally a well advised move.

            Nooo you're thinking about it the wrong way around. Not saving money spending money. The rnd programs have to always be turning something new out or they get canned and you gotta keep the workforce employed or they leave and suddenly you don't have enough people to work to throw money away for.

            That and lots of states make constant bids on expensive contracts from congress to win bids in their personal states.

            Government departments are strange. If they dont spend it this year, they dont get that money next year, so often there is spending on crap just to spend the money. And then, Government being filled with idiots, they get stuck with whatever junk it was spent on, and have to use it.

            Often for decades.

            Here's how it works: Politicians in charge of departments are sitting on all this taxpayer money that they can't spend directly on themselves. They can, however, accept various kickbacks and promises of lucrative employment from people who they can give taxpayer money to. So the politicians are able to convert taxpayer money they can't spend on themselves into kickback money that they can.

            You can see examples of this locally in the banking and mining industries in Australia.

            'The good of the nation' is never an actual consideration in these decisions.

        That’s not entirely true. The F-35 platform is multi role and designed more towards surface to air rather than air superiority. They’re different planes for different jobs. Like the f-16 to f-18.

        There’s most definitely a lot of military industrial complex and politicking going on though.

          isn't surface to air the opposite of what a plane should be doing?

          (imagines chunky fighter plane trundling around the runway shooting at flying tanks like some sort of Starfox asset swap glitch)

    Goddamit! DCS fans are looking forward to that F-16 module!

    Reminds me of the trouble ArmA3 developers got in to a few years back in the Mediterranian, mistakenly taking photos of military installations while researching a new map for the game!

      Wasn't even research they were doing. A couple of the developers went there on holiday and in the back ground there happened to be a military base in a photo.. The Greek government had an axe to grind so brought them up on charges.

    I guess the upcoming DCS: F-16 module and for other US aircraft could be delayed due to these complications.
    Maybe next time send them to the Fighter Collection in the UK first.

      Also @soldant Wags has said "The development of the F-16 and other modules currently in the pipeline will continue in order to further enhance the simulation experience of DCS World. These events will not affect Eagle Dynamics' commitment to its users and faithful community."

      I've linked their statement below.

    Seems a bit of an odd charge so I'm wondering if there's more to it. ED sims are high fidelity but I'd imagine they'd have legal opportunities to obtain tech specs without incurring the wrath of various nations. I don't know why he'd then sell them on though...

      ED claim no association with the aircraft/weapons manufacturer per their general disclaimer "Depiction of any weapon or vehicle in these products or game does not indicate affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement by any weapon or vehicle manufacturer."

      They are always explicit in noting they only use publicly available information in developing the game. Like the below NATOPS manual for the F/A-18 that anyone can download which includes, performance, systems, and operating information.

      https://info.publicintelligence.net/F18-ABCD-000.pdf

      It does seem odd however and maybe only based on laws that bar Russians from purchasing this material, regardless of it being widely available online. Unless of course he has tried to obtain classified info or they have detained him for investigation.

      Posted ED's official statement below.

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