Royal Navy buys ‘toothbrush-size’ gun

Writing about military technology can be a bit of a minefield (‘scuse the pun). We all get a bit confused sometimes, especially when we’re bombarded with crazy acronyms and a huge product brochure with incomprehensible data.

And that’s just us journalists that specialise in aerospace and defence, writing about it all day, every day. So imagine what happens when a reporter on a national newspaper tries to tackle the world of defence technology. The confusion goes to another, quite hilarious, level.

Today, the Daily Star (ok, not a source of good journalism in general) reported that the Royal Navy was buying guns the size of a toothbrush for a shocking £183m. Huh? This must be an April fools’ joke?

Actually, it turns out the reporter confused the gun’s 5-inch calibre with the actual size of the weapon. The article was quickly edited, but not before it was screen grabbed and shared on social media. Twitter hilarity ensued:

In all seriousness – the story, more than anything, reflects the state of our national press today.

Looking at the journalist’s history of stories, they have to cover ISIS, Jose Mourinho’s daughter in a bikini and a creepy man who stuffs women’s underwear in letterboxes. Not surprising then that when they read ‘5-inch’, it’s taken literally. The Daily Star probably also lacks any sub-editors who can take a step back and say, ‘hey, I don’t think a toothbrush-sized gun is right, can you check that?’.

My advice to the national journalists while doing your research for defence stories; use Shephard Media, a trusted resource in defence and aerospace for the last 35 years!


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