ARLINGTON, VA—As part of an ongoing effort to crack down on unlicensed, counterfeit imitations of its tactical aircraft, the Pentagon announced Monday that it had discovered bootleg F-22 fighter jets for sale from hundreds of AliExpress vendors. “We are aware of cheap F-22 Raptor knockoffs being sold through this online retail service, and such piracy will not be tolerated,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who noted that an AliExpress version of the plane could be identified by examining its fuselage, which appeared to be made of flimsy plastic, and its precision-guided bombs, which were constructed from some sort of wood composite. “Our intelligence indicates these jets come in packs of 100 for $10, include a nonfunctional single-wheel landing gear, and feature “F-22” spray-painted in yellow on the side. Though they are equipped with fewer wings than most standard aircraft, we believe they could still prove quite destructive if someone were able to get one off the ground.” At press time, the Pentagon had reportedly canceled its contract to purchase F-22s from Lockheed Martin at a cost of $150 million each, having determined the savings offered by AliExpress were simply too good to pass up.
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