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Could a U.S. Jet even shoot at Air Force One?

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posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 02:56 PM
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Thanks to a recent episode of "24", I've been pondersing something. It stands to reason than any U.S. Military IFF transponder would be programmed to recognize whichever transponder is designated as Air Force One's frequency, and would render any U.S. (or possibly allied in general) jet incapable of firing upon it. The only way to override it would be in the presidential "football", or in the Pentagon. Thus, some loon who hijacks a U.S. fighter jet couldn't just fire it's entire salvo of missiles at AF1 in a suicide mission.

Can anyone tell me if this is correct, or at least a valid assumption?




posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 03:01 PM
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suicide mission


If it were a suicide mission, I think the pilot would make things certain and just fly the jet into A/F 1 :p



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 03:06 PM
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Would it lock machine guns? I'm not so sure there...



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 03:18 PM
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A paraphrased reply to a post I made in the JSF thread is quite apt here I think:

Why would they? If some wise spark started broadcasting the AF1 IFF signal from a plane that was about to attack a target in the US, the airforce would be powerless to stop it.



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 03:24 PM
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It's not necessary to lock on to engage.

Using the guns is a bit like skeet shooting, you 'paint' the target.

And yes, any jet can fire passive lock missles on the jet, but from what I hear, that tub has some pretty sophisticated anti-missle technology.



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 04:20 PM
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Originally posted by thematrix
If it were a suicide mission, I think the pilot would make things certain and just fly the jet into A/F 1 :p


Well, since I'm assuming AF-1 always has an escort of multiple planes, I would also assume that it would never get close enough to AF-1 to actually collide; the other jets would destroy/disable it first.


Originally posted by RichardPrice
A paraphrased reply to a post I made in the JSF thread is quite apt here I think:

Why would they? If some wise spark started broadcasting the AF1 IFF signal from a plane that was about to attack a target in the US, the airforce would be powerless to stop it.


Well, in theory, the transponder would not be replicable by any reasonable means, and would have also have some sort of countermeasure controlled at the football or pentagon level.


Originally posted by WyrdeOne
It's not necessary to lock on to engage.

Using the guns is a bit like skeet shooting, you 'paint' the target.

And yes, any jet can fire passive lock missles on the jet, but from what I hear, that tub has some pretty sophisticated anti-missle technology.


Hmmm... Well, shoot, I probably just gave some defense contractor a billion dollar idea. I'd be curious what Off_The_Street has to say about this, if he sees it.

See, the question comes from the end of the last episode of "24". A bad guy got ahold of what I can only assume is an F117, and his target is the President, who is currently flying in Air Force One. But I can't see how anyone in any one jet could take out AF-1 between it's defenses and the escorts. A friend suggested that it could simply fire all missiles at the same time, and that's where the idea about the IFF transponder came into play. I didn't really count for guns, because I would assume that any one jet wouldn't have time to execute any real dogfight against AF-1.

I did finally figure out one way to overcome it, but as I'd rather not give any would-be terrorists ideas, I'll opt not to post it.

So no sort of transponder to block US aircraft from attacking it? Seems like they would have thought of making one by now.



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 04:30 PM
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Doesn't Air Force One have a radius around it where no other aircrafts or jets can enter it or else they will probably be forced to land by Air Force fighters who would be escorting AF1 or who would be scrambled.. And it also carries a lot of ECM's an other missile jamming equipment.
To sum it all up you would have to know military jets and you would have to have knowledge of how the system works simply getting on a jet and pressing the button to fire wont do.



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 04:50 PM
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Folks,

To a degree I doubt that there would be a limiting factor or software limit that would prevent a fighter from firing on an allied aircraft that is running their IFF freq on the same one, as a friendly aircraft would be running.

I for one, would not like that limiting factor on my aircraft, all some one would have to do is find the same freq as the US aircraft and cruise on in. Another thing, is that the IFF system was developed purly as a sort of marker for friendly forces so that they know which aircraft are friend and which are foe.

- Philip



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 04:57 PM
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Just fire guns on it, that will definitly do it, or dumb-fire some AAMs at it....

As for a suicide flight into it with a Cesna or what-have-you, good luck!



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by thelibra

Well, in theory, the transponder would not be replicable by any reasonable means, and would have also have some sort of countermeasure controlled at the football or pentagon level.


Its a transponder - record its output and play it back. Get an aircraft without a cutout switch. Disable your own aircrafts receiver module for the cutoff switch.

I really think the idea of a 'cut off switch' for your own airforce is slightly pointless and nothing more than a plot device for a TV series. Do the Secret Service have their weapons disabled when they are pointed in the direction of the President? Think about it - such a thing would cut your fighter escorts capabilities down to zilch, what if there was an aircraft on supersonic intercept in a suicide kamikaze? Are you going to wait for the 2 - 3 minutes its going to take for the release command to be authorised and given? Do you have that amount of time?

I beleive that all these decisions are left down to hte people with their triggers on the guns, at some point you have to trust the people defending you, if you hold the power to take away their capabilities, then its entirely possible that so does the people that want to take you down. You dont want dogs on leashes that can only bark until you let them go, you want trained killers waiting to think by themselves.

And its pretty easy to take down a large target such as AirforceOne, providing you get close enough - unguided 2 inch rockets in a barrage of 40 or so should do it. All it would take is one or two to hit and thats more than enough damage done to a flimsy aircraft (because thats what all aircraft are at the end of the day) at 35,000ft.

Note to Secret Service dudes if listening - this is not a scenario I am tempted to carry on further, purely speculative. Can you cancel the black van outside my home and the bugging on my phone line now? Thanks.



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 05:33 PM
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thelibra
A bad guy got ahold of what I can only assume is an F117, and his target is the President, who is currently flying in Air Force One.

huh? whats his plan... to go above AF-1 and drop bombs on it.

Also I dont think the F-117 could catch it. Yes, the F-117 is faster then AF-1, AF-1 top speed is 630mph, while the NightHawks is under 700mph, but thats not a huge difference, so it would take awhile for it to catch up to AF-1, they will notice that it has being heading in a straight line toward there plane (AF-1) and call for help, and the nighthawk would be shot down before it got near the Pres.
I dont think AF-1 has chase planes like the F-15 and F-16 at all times, it probably does only when there is a direct threat that is known. AF-1 has flares, and jamming devices.

It's simply not plausable, a terrorist would have to be extremely smart to even have a small chance in hell, theres just far to much logistics.



posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 08:20 PM
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In the U.S. the chances of a terrorist getting in a fighter pane or any plane and trying to bring down AF1 is not likely they have better chance of being shot down by USAF fighters then bringing down AF1.

My question is what about when AF1 travels overseas and flies over other counties? What about then, I image AF1 doesn't have F-15 escorting it because it might be a violation of that country's airspace? So how come no one has ever taken a shot at it with a missile or jet when it travels overseas?



posted on Apr, 1 2005 @ 01:44 AM
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Hey guys,

THANKS FOR THE DAMN SPOILERS FOR A SEASON THAT HASN'T SCREENED HERE YET.

I bloody well thank you from the bottom of my bloody heart.

CHEERS.



posted on Apr, 1 2005 @ 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by DeltaNine
THANKS FOR THE DAMN SPOILERS FOR A SEASON THAT HASN'T SCREENED HERE YET.
I bloody well thank you from the bottom of my bloody heart.


That was totally my fault, DeltaNine, I'm sorry man.
I wasn't aware that 24 was even broadcast outside the U.S.
If it's any consolation at all, very little was spoiled, and is really
still a minor subplot at this point. Most of what I said is speculation.
I'm not even sure that he's after the Prez, I'm just guessing because...
of certain conversations...by other people in the show.

No more spoilers, I promise, and what I said shouldn't ruin the show.
However, I really do apologize, I just wanted to clarify that I wasn't
trying to plot anything against the President, that this is all speculation
based off a fictional TV show.

Back to the other responses

Well, I guess you're right. A "special transponder" to block a fighter's ability to fire on AF-1 would probably eventually get cloned or bypassed. And I didn't realize how slow the F117 is. I thought it could at least top the SR-71, but as a bomber, I suppose it's mission spec wouldn't require it to be as fast.

So how is one man, in one F117 (anyone want to confirm that this was the plane I saw in 24, without further spoiling 24 for Delta 9) that only has a top speed of about 70mph faster than AF1, supposed to catch up to it surreptitiously, and take it out? It seems ridiculous.

Unless...

...unless maybe he's going to wait till it's landed or something?

Eh... anyway. Probably best not to answer. I expect a thread with the key words this one has is already triggering some watch lists or something, and even if it's not, I'd rather not give terrorists ideas.



posted on Apr, 1 2005 @ 06:33 AM
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This is partially covered in the the other thread about AF1. You have to trawl through a bit but it is not that far down the list of threads and you should really have just added on to there I suppose. Ah well, I am not a mod or anything just trying to point out that users should really look before posting.



posted on Apr, 1 2005 @ 01:20 PM
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Well pretty much your standard IFF system, APX-64, APX-100, etc. works by using 6 different modes, 1,2,3/A,C,4, and S. The main one that is actually IFF is mode 4, Fighters, AWACS, and ground radar stations send an interrogation pulse which is coded and changed at least once a day. once a transponder system receives that pulse it sends out a reply pulse again coded and changed daily. for the most part most cargo aircraft only have 2 lights to even tell them they were interrogated one for a reply light to let them know they sent out a good signal and a mode 4 caution light letting them know for some reason they didnt send out a reply pulse and that they need to get on the radio quick to verify thier friendly status.

In terms of the mechanics it would be possible to throw a relay in the fire control system of any fighter and disable it if it recieves a friendly signal but as it's already been pointed out if the codes are ever compromised it would hamper any attempts to shoot down the plane. If the codes are even percieved to be compromised the entire NATO fleet changes thier codes not an easy task when your talking about the sheer volume of planes held by the US and our allies.

As far as fighter escorts go for AF1 usually they are only needed for overseas flights as NORAD tracks anything in the air and will have certain fighters/tankers sitting alpha alert for presidental support if anything happens. They just keep a no fly bubble around it and anything invades that space scramble the fighters. The main problem NORAD had during 9/11 was that they were using commercial aircraft with filed flight plans. Overseas we usually just land on allied bases or our own bases overseas with no problems bringing our own fighters along.



posted on Apr, 1 2005 @ 02:22 PM
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I hope that no one from the Secret Service is monitoring this forum. I'd hate to get hauled off to jail for just discussing a theoretical situation.

I don't believe that there is an IFF mode that prevents a US aircraft from firing on AF1. With all of the leaks and security breaches I find it hard to believe that it either wouldn't be public knowledge or that some country wouldn't steal the code or device and use it to attack the US.

I do know that before 911 AF1 would not have an escort except for a ceremonial one over the Continental United States. Out side of the US AF1 always has an armed escort. The exact make-up of which I am unfamiliar.
I do not know if there is an exclusion zone around AF1 in flight.



posted on Apr, 1 2005 @ 04:05 PM
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There is a no fly zone/bubble around AF 1 if anything goes into it fighters are scrambled. As the AF 1 is watched closely by NORAD after all it hold’s the worlds most powerful man. I think theoretically it is possible to bring down AF1 over U.S. soil but practically it wont happen.



posted on Apr, 10 2005 @ 01:56 PM
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Yes IFF is a great idea. And yes it does work......sometimes. While I was a helicopter crewmember in the '80s I worked with it a bit. Ours didn't always work.....along with our "secure" FM transmitters. I also note that the majority of allied airmen killed in Iraq were killed in friendly fire incidents with WORKING IFF transponders. Patriot missiles might not kill scuds all that well but they shoot down Tornados just fine.



posted on Apr, 10 2005 @ 05:21 PM
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An F-117 can't even fire air to air missiles can it?

People call it a stealth 'fighter'. In a documentary thing about series 3 of 24, the producers said that they tried to make things as accurate as possible but they had to strike a balance between this and what peoples' perception of things are.

The example used was the 'suicide pills' that I think were described as painless in 24 but aren't in real life.

Also to fit in with the story of that episode and make it plausible, it had to be a stealth plane so CTU and everyone else couldn't get its location. There are only two stealth US planes the public would recognise and people would think the B-2 would not be able to fight other planes so I guess they had to use the F-117.

The producers could have maybe used F-22 but it doesn't look stealthy so the show wouldn't look as good (plausible to people who don't know much about stealth planes i.e. general public). Also, I'm not sure the USAF would like to have a TV show poking around their newest and most advanced fighter jet.

Obviously I can't have watched the episode in question as I am in the UK...




[edit on 10/4/05 by Hyperen]




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