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Hi-jackings, fighters and rules

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posted on Aug, 19 2006 @ 04:34 AM
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Spurred on by the thread about where UK jets are scrambled from…

I appreciate that different nations have different rules and these may not be in the public domain, but just what are the Rules of Engagement that we know of regarding fighter jets and hijacked airliners?

I would speculate that NO nation would sanction the shooting down of an airliner and the fighter jet is just a passive spectator which is scrambled to appease public expectation and provide good press coverage.

In February 2006 the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany rules that the shooting down of airliners would be an act of State sponsored killing, so that’s the German position for you.

Regards




posted on Aug, 19 2006 @ 08:03 AM
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I would speculate that NO nation would sanction the shooting down of an airliner and the fighter jet is just a passive spectator which is scrambled to appease public expectation and provide good press coverage



Of course a nation would sanction the shooting down of an airliner, but only as the very last resort. There was an item on BBC news about the RAF QRF and it was stated that if an airliner was not responding to radio or commands then if the plane was hijacked the plane would be shot down however difficult for the RAF pilots it would be.

news.bbc.co.uk...
theres a video of the news story on the page
[edit on 19-8-2006 by mojoberg]

[edit on 19-8-2006 by mojoberg]



posted on Aug, 20 2006 @ 09:23 PM
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Well, from what I’ve seen regarding the (now) restricted airspace over DC and surround area a shoot-down can indeed be authorized.

Every time a plane enters the DC area restricted airspace a fighter(s) (usually from Langley AFB) is/are scrambled, this is SOP, the fighter(s) will trail the aircraft (probably out of visual range) in question while ATC tries to establish communications and figure out what’s going on. If the aircraft in question cannot be reached by radio and or wont respond to commands, the fighter(s) will move to WVR too visually see what's going on. They will try to establish sight with the cockpit to see what's going on. If the pilots (or whomever is flying the plane) wont respond to clear signals from the fighter pilot(s) and continue on the original heading then the process of getting clearance for a possible shoot down will actually begin. The POTUS has to clear it but (don't quote me on this as the ROE’s are still somewhat gray) I think since 9/11 regional commanders have been given more authority in terms of ordering a shoot down if they cant get in touch with higher ups. Anyway, next the fighters will try to "buzz" the aircraft and try to force it to change direction until the jet approaches and or passes an established point of no return, if you will, once this happen then the order to shoot it down will be given.

During 9/11 there was a flight up near Washington state that was not responding to radio calls, fighters were scrambled and established sight communications with the pilots, the pilots followed all hand commands given by the fighter pilots but would not respond via radio. The regional commander decided not to order a shoot down because the jet was being responsive. It later landed and it was established that there was something wrong with the radio.

So, in the US a shoot down can be ordered but ONLY as a last resort and that order I believe still has to come from the POTUS.

[edit on 20-8-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 01:43 AM
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That's great for the USA, Westpoint, but I think that here in the UK, things would be a lot differant. The DC case you sited, highlighted the point of failled radio comms.

Can you imagine the public hue and cry if an aircraft packed with returning businessmen and familes returning from holiday, was mistakenly shot down? It would, IMO, bring down the government.

No my friend, I suspect that four aircraft would be used to close with and form up on the airliner and force it to move in the required direction - very much like the police do to stop a runaway evading them on the highway.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 03:21 AM
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Originally posted by fritz
Can you imagine the public hue and cry if an aircraft packed with returning businessmen and familes returning from holiday, was mistakenly shot down? It would, IMO, bring down the government.


But this is the whole dilemma isn't it? Whether it is "better" to shoot down a passenger aircraft with the risk of unnecessary civilian deaths or allow it to fly on with the possibility that it could conceivably be used as a weapon and, for example, be crashed into central London.

Normal procedure would, I understand, be to make contact with the plane by radio or, if this was impossible, visually as described by Westpoint. If there's no serious problem there are internationally recognised visual signals to tell the civilian pilot what to do.

If a plane in UK airspace is hijacked the usual destination is required, (by the authorities), to be Stanstead where it can be parked in a secure area whilst attempts are made to resolve the situation. If the pilots refuse to divert to Stanstead but continue flying towards central London and cannot be persuaded to change course by whatever means what do you do? Do you allow it to fly on in the hope that there are some circumstances you just don't understand and that it will land without incident at Heathrow but with the risk of a crash in the West End, or bring it down outside the city?

I have no doubt that the "rules" exist to allow the second option if that is deemed necessary


[edit on 24-8-2006 by timeless test]



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 08:33 AM
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Shooting a plane down over central london is a huge risk, not only are you condeming all people on board to death but many unsuspecting civilians on the ground.

It would be an incredibly tough call for whever has to make the call. It must come down to where they think the intended targe is. The events of 9/11 could fully justify those airliners being brought down because the loss of life would be far less. On the other hand if you dont know where its going how can you justify the loss of all people on board.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 09:05 AM
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Originally posted by fritz
No my friend, I suspect that four aircraft would be used to close with and form up on the airliner and force it to move in the required direction - very much like the police do to stop a runaway evading them on the highway.


Sorry Fritz but if the airliner is hijacked I don't see anyway you can do this, what I meant by "buzzing" is flying around the aircraft tying to disrupt it’s flight path because you cant change it. A common tactic is for fighter aircraft to fly up above the pilots cockpit and light burners to go vertical the downward exhaust will force the plane nose down a bit and give an unpleasant shudder. However that's all you can do.

I don't see how you can physically change the jets direction much less force it to land. If your fighters get to close any sudden and erratic movement by the airliner could take some down, now you lost both the airliner and one of your pilots.

Keep in mind here that if the plane is hijacked the people flying may simply decide to drive the plane into the ground as a last result, that’s no different than you shooting it down except that you can win a PR victory by saying that you didn’t shoot it down.

And also keep in mind the time limit for these things, the US is a big country and yet in most cases we will only have minutes to decide what to do before the plane gets over a large populated area.

If that happens and you have not shot it down then the pilot could decide to drive it into the ground (ie. United 93) or if you shoot it down debris will fall over everyone. I imagine this is even more problematic in the UK since its a much smaller country, point being you don't have all day to play around with the aircraft trying to get it land, a decision has to be made and quickly.

-------------------

As for the accidental shoot down, well if an aircraft has a damaged radio and they wont respond and or enter restricted air space I don't see how any innocent pilot will not respond to fighter aircraft clearly "buzzing" his jet and or clear hand signals to go down, especially after 9/11. I mean you'd have to be freaking retarded to continue flying straight and level after all that. So if it is shot down the blame falls entirely on the dumb pilot, not the military.

[edit on 26-8-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 11:43 AM
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At a high enough altitude you can use a fighter to force a plane to change directions, you just have to get really really close to them. As you move closer, they change directions to keep from colliding. Lighting afterburners over the cockpit was a trick used called "thumping" and it was designed to use against Soviet bombers to destroy their forward visibility. It was incredibly dangerous.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 12:26 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
At a high enough altitude you can use a fighter to force a plane to change directions, you just have to get really really close to them. As you move closer, they change directions to keep from colliding.


Ah, in not so many words you basically mean playing chicken? I don't know man, it might work slightly but is that really wise when you have people who are looking to be martyrs flying the plane?

Also, I believe "thumping" was used on that Egyptian flight in the 80’s, ah... my memory is failing me here anyone know what I’m talking about?



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 12:28 PM
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They want to be martyrs, but they want to take as many people as they can with them. It doesn't do any good to hijack a plane and NOT make it to the target. They will probably figure they'll have an opportunity to hit another target if they don't collide with a fighter, and they can always crash it into the ground if they can't.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 12:37 PM
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Ok but that isn't any different than actually shooting the plane down right then and there, instead of risking more stuff by trying to change its direction. You know they’re not going to land so why prolong the inevitable?



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 12:45 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23


Also, I believe "thumping" was used on that Egyptian flight in the 80’s, ah... my memory is failing me here anyone know what I’m talking about?


Were you refering to the Achille Lauro incident in 1985 ?

This was were F14's from the Saratoga were used to make an Egyptian 737 land at a NATO base in Italy, as the airliner was carrying 4 Palestinian highjackers who had Hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro, and murdered a passenger in the process.



posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 12:50 PM
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That's the one, thanks for that, glad it worked too, I can imagine what having a wash out from tomcat engines must be like.



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