• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

RAF jet downed by US team in panic

#1
Is this a 'new' story? I know the event is old, and the rumours are already severly frayed, but this has only appeared in today's paper...

Telegraph Online[/url]"] RAF jet downed by US team 'in panic'

The deaths of two British airmen, shot down by a US missile battery when their RAF Tornado was mistaken for an Iraqi missile at the start of the Gulf War, were "entirely avoidable", a coroner said yesterday.

Andrew Walker, the deputy assistant coroner for Oxfordshire, said that the American personnel manning the Patriot missile defence system were inadequately trained.

He said he sensed their "panic" as they mistook the Tornado GR4, returning to Kuwait from a successful bombing mission over Baghdad, for an anti-radiation missile. "Glaring failures" led to the so-called "friendly fire" incident, in March 2003, with inadequately trained personnel and poor communications, he said.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
It isn't a new story but the inquest has only just been held in Oxford
I think the sad thing is that the incedent happened in 2003 and only now is the official inquest being held
3 Years on does it matter what the outcome is
Are we going to see charges brought after 3 years
I don't think we will
 
#3
I'm curious as to how they underwent their investigation: Did they interview the missile operators, for example? Paper says 'No' (Though apparently not their fault.

I like this line, though.

Its operators had no training in dealing with aircraft or anti- radiation missiles (ARM).

I find it odd that the ADA school doesn't deal with such fundamentals...

NTM
 
#4
California_Tanker said:
I'm curious as to how they underwent their investigation: Did they interview the missile operators, for example? Paper says 'No' (Though apparently not their fault.

I like this line, though.

Its operators had no training in dealing with aircraft or anti- radiation missiles (ARM).

I find it odd that the ADA school doesn't deal with such fundamentals...

NTM
I'd like to know about that too. Especially for something so Whizzy as Patriot.
 
#5
California_Tanker said:
I'm curious as to how they underwent their investigation: Did they interview the missile operators, for example?
They were inteveiwed by written questions and answers only, the DoD refused requests that they attended the inquest.

California_Tanker said:
Its operators had no training in dealing with aircraft or anti- radiation missiles (ARM). NTM
This came out at the inquest, it may have been a bluff to prevent charges of wilful manslaughter against the crew - but as gambit would be high risk indeed.
 
#6
California_Tanker said:
I'm curious as to how they underwent their investigation: Did they interview the missile operators, for example?
They were interveiwed by written questions and answers only, the DoD refused requests that they attend.

California_Tanker said:
Its operators had no training in dealing with aircraft or anti- radiation missiles (ARM). NTM
This came out at the inquest, it may have been a bluff to prevent charges of wilful manslaughter against the crew - but as gambit would be high risk indeed.
 
#8
I knew the pilot from another Squadron.Apparently the IFF (Identify Friend Foe) which is fitted in all aircraft was faulty on the Tornado & not squarking the correct code or non at all. But it's funny how 90% of blue-on-blue are caused by trigger happy sepics!!(see A-10 X 2!)
RIP to the crew.
 
#10
Some rumours I heard from light blue colleagues a while ago seem to bear out what was reported in the paper. The shot down ac had defective IFF - which is why it was in formation with a wingman. The battery was there to defend against TBMs, no enemy missile launches had been reported, and the flight was expected - after all, the battery was on the main approach to the airbase.

When the system flashed up a spurious ARM indication upon detecting the Tornado which was diffy IFF any properly trained and half awake crew would have decided not to launch.

However ... the Patriot battery were allegedly busy panicking over a false alarm CBRN attack and it is uncertain whether or not any human was effectively in control of the engagement - one gets the feeling they filled their pants and hit the button instead of thinking.

The US have been very quiet about this one, and it is difficult to escape the conclusion that they are deliberately trying to suppress the facts.

After all, any proven defects in Patriot performance against TBMs will hit sales and lead to awkward questions as to why the US has bought a system that cannot perform as advertised. It will also lead to questions about why ill-trained personnel were deployed, and why the comms links necessary to share the air picture and prevent blue on blue incidents were not set up. Finally, what moron sites a SAM site directly under the approach for one of their major air bases ?
 
#11
I'm just infantry so I don't understand all this technical aeroplane stuff... But do they not have radios? "Hello, my electric thing's not working, don't shoot me down"...
 
#12
RFUK said:
I'm just infantry so I don't understand all this technical aeroplane stuff... But do they not have radios? "Hello, my electric thing's not working, don't shoot me down"...
It's called IFF.It transmits a beacon which identifies the jet but It's turned off on entering enemy airspace as they can read it as well.(used by civvie airliners as well)
But,the crew turned it on & unknown to them,it was'nt transmitting.
The first indication the crew would have had was on the RHWR kit.(Radar Homing/Warning Reciever) but from what I gather,it's commonplace for any military jet to be painted by ground based SAA radars.The first thing the crew knew was when the patriot hit.
 
#13
RFUK said:
I'm just infantry so I don't understand all this technical aeroplane stuff... But do they not have radios? "Hello, my electric thing's not working, don't shoot me down"...
It's called IFF.It transmits a beacon which identifies the jet but It's turned off on entering enemy airspace as they can read it as well.(used by civvie airliners as well)
But,the crew turned it on & unknown to them,it was'nt transmitting.
The first indication the crew would have had was on the RHWR kit.(Radar Homing/Warning Reciever) but from what I gather,it's commonplace for any military jet to be painted by ground based SAA radars.The first thing the crew knew was when the patriot hit.
 
#14
RFUK said:
I'm just infantry so I don't understand all this technical aeroplane stuff... But do they not have radios? "Hello, my electric thing's not working, don't shoot me down"...
It's called IFF.It transmits a beacon which identifies the jet but It's turned off on entering enemy airspace as they can read it as well.(used by civvie airliners as well)
But,the crew turned it on & unknown to them,it was'nt transmitting.
The first indication the crew would have had was on the RHWR kit.(Radar Homing/Warning Reciever) but from what I gather,it's commonplace for any military jet to be painted by ground based SAA radars.The first thing the crew knew was when the patriot hit.
 
#15
There was a BBC camera team embedded with the crews squadron at the time - for an episode of 'fighting the war'.

Followed the squadron up to the first day of bombing iraq and beyond. It had an interview with the wingman - the squadron leader - after the event and not surprisingly he was feeling many different things. Anger, sadness etc. He said he saw the missile approaching and then thought he saw it peter out just behind him... he didnt realise it had hit his wingman until a bit later.

To soothe any ruffled feathers, the american commander of the AA battery went to the squadrons's base to personally apoligise but that really didnt go down well with the people involved.


Is a shame, but what can be done about it now?
 
#16
Spike - are you gong chasing, per chance?
So who'll foot the bill for the Tornado (there's another several million off the accommodation upgrade). What about compensation for the families? Sadly, there are just too many incidents and Combat ID does not get the priority it should.
 
#17
RFUK said:
I'm just infantry so I don't understand all this technical aeroplane stuff... But do they not have radios? "Hello, my electric thing's not working, don't shoot me down"...
Absolutely. The problem is connectivity with the agencies involved, The GR4s were talking to an E3, which had no direct comms with the Patriot Unit or any of it's close chain of command. Had the GR4 crew been aware of the issue, it may have happened regardless as the message may have taken too long to filter down to the Patriot crew. Tough call.

US ROE gives the operators too much freedom & in this case, the wrong choices were made after all, how many ARMs travel at 450 kts? A Tad slow for a missile & I would suggest that some attention to detail may have served this situation well.

I work with the USAF etc on a regular basis & I think that in general, they are ok however, they do fire & ask questions later too often for my liking.
 
#18
I was working in Arif Jan in Kuwait when this happened. I was standing in line in the cookhouse. Standing about 10 people back were a couple of Septic Rednecks, loudly spouting off about the shooting down of the Tornado, stating that it was the fault of the RAF pilot. They generally had a downer on Brits in general and were joking about the deaths. A rather short, wiry jock WO2 stepped out of line after hearing the septics comments and proceeded to pin the offensive septic up against the wall by his throat, telling him to have a little respect for the dead. The Jock had to be pulled off the septic by a couple of Yank MPs. Cookhouse went rather quiet at this point and the loudmouth septics left looking rather sheepish.

The problems you get when you put trailer trash in charge of multi million dollar missile systems. :?
 
#19
changingmag said:
Spike - are you gong chasing, per chance?
So who'll foot the bill for the Tornado (there's another several million off the accommodation upgrade). What about compensation for the families? Sadly, there are just too many incidents and Combat ID does not get the priority it should.
Sorry 'bout that! I was posting from work & the marvelous IT Tw@'s were doing a 'upgrade' & my PC froze!Did'nt think it posted 3 times tho!
Sorry :oops:
 
#20
It's called IFF.It transmits a beacon which identifies the jet but It's turned off on entering enemy airspace as they can read it as well.(used by civvie airliners as well)
But,the crew turned it on & unknown to them,it was'nt transmitting.
Ah, I was under the impression that they knew their IFF was fcuked.

The GR4s were talking to an E3, which had no direct comms with the Patriot Unit or any of it's close chain of command.
Great.
 

Latest Threads

New Posts