Posted by: Taylor Hoff | March 30, 2009

No System Is Ever Secure

Well this must have sucked. Imagine the reaction of the pilot… -TDH

Air Force Bombs Georgia
[ From the Montreal Gazette, 12 May 1989]
US AIR FORCE PROBES WHETHER TRANSMITTERS CAUSED BOMB TO DROP
Atlanta – US Air Force investigators are examining whether
electromagnetic radiation from military transmitters may have caused an
F-16 jet to accidentally drop a bomb on rural West Georgia last week,
and Air Force official said yesterday.
The possibility of electromagnetic interference, however, is only one
of several potential causes the Air Force and Army is investigating,
said Dee Tait, an official at Moody Air Force Base where the F-16 is
stationed. A final accident report won’t be ready for 30 to 90 days,
she said.
No one was injured in the May 4 explosion, but the 230 kilogram bomb
ripped through a wooded area and has prompted a Georgia congressman to
call for a review of Air Force flight procedures state wide.
According to forces officials, the inadvertent bombing occurred when one
of four armed jets from the 247th Tactical Fighter Wing at Moody was
training last Thursday over Fort Benning’s “Kilo Impact Area” in
Muscogee County.
The pilot of the plane, who has not been identified, tried to release a
bomb over the practice range, but it would not drop. As the pilot
circled back over Marion County, the bomb fell and its 90 kg of
explosives shook windows of houses 900 metres away.
[ Short explanation of EMI causes deleted ]
It [ EMI ] has been attributed to navigation problems with the Army’s
UH-60 “Black Hawk” Helicopter, which has been banned from flying near
100 transmitters worldwide.
In the case of the F-16, high levels of electromagnetic radiation can
accidentally detonate electro-explosive devices, or EEDs, that release
bombs, missiles and fuel tanks from the underside of the plane,
according to an Air Force {Explosive Safety Standards} manual obtained
by the Macon { Telegraph and News}.
The vulnerability of Air Force planes with EEDs has become and issue at
Robins Air Force Base near Warner Robins, Ga., where the Air Force has
been shutting down part of the high-powered PAVE PAWS radar station
every time and EED-equipped plane lands at the base.
The Air Force operates four PAVE PAWS facilities, which use radar
powerful enough to probe objects in space. A current study at the
Robins base is examining the power of the pulsed radar beams from PAVE
PAWS and whether it disrupts ultra-sensitive electronic equipment on
aircraft.
The partial shutdowns preceded a March 1988 Air Force report that stated
“the high power contained in PAVE PAWS pulses may pose a danger to
elecro-explosive devices carried on military and commercial aircraft.”
Tait confirmed that the F-16 [involved in the incident ] had been equipped
with EEDs, tiny explosive charges that release the shackles that hold
the bomb onto the jet. “They are looking into that,” she said.
However, she added, “the bomb-release mechanisms on F-16s are designed
to preclude electromagnetic interference.”

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