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Can A Plane Be Shot Down At Cruise?  
User currently offlineDeaphen From India, joined Jul 2005, 1428 posts, RR: 1
Posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 17279 times:

Hi all:

I am sorry for the grim thread title, but I have always wondered while flying over some parts of the world, whether persons could theoretically shoot down an aircraft flying at cruise level. The incident of the A300 which was shot and which subsequently landed safely.

Further, contrails make civilian aircraft easy to track. Would it be possible with a hand held weapon? Like say anti aircraft weapons?

Thanks
Nitin


I want every single airport and airplane in India to be on A.net!
45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21795 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 17236 times:

By a portable SAM launcher (the sort you fit over your shoulder)? Probably not. By one of those bigger truck-mounted varieties? Sure.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineWAH64D From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 966 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 17192 times:

Modern military SAMs from a maritime or large land based facility could do it. MANPAD portable devices, not a chance.


I AM the No-spotalotacus.
User currently offlineCanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2843 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 17189 times:

For that matter your garden variety truck mounted 37mm aaa gun would be fairly useless against a plane at cruise as well. But, as Mir said the telephone pole sized SAM would be able to.


The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineThegeek From Australia, joined Nov 2007, 2638 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 17157 times:

Another problem is doing enough damage to take the airliner down. Look at the DHL shootdown incident. Would probably require several missiles. A shoulder launched weapon would likely fail this test even at low level.

User currently offlineFlyingfox27 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2007, 424 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 17136 times:

Well we fly over Afghanistan en route to Bangkok and back in one piece so we are safe at 39,000ft - i hope!

User currently offlineEvomutant From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 510 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 17121 times:

The current hand-held Anti Aircraft missile used by the US Military is the Stinger. It can hit things up to about 13k feet. The British Starstreak missile can go a little higher, but not by much.

In short, a modern jet airliner at a normal cruise altitude is pretty much immune from a ground-launched, hand held anti-aircraft weapon.

[Edited 2009-12-20 05:23:37 by srbmod]

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15810 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 17004 times:

A MANPAD such as the Stinger or SA-7 has a short range and are IR guided, making them useless against an airliner in cruise.

Other missiles certainly can reach that altitude. Even a 1950s era SA-2 can reach 60,000+ feet and would be a threat to an airliner. Of course there are significant obstacles for terrorists seeking a SAM that can do that. Many of the larger systems, such as the SA-2, SA-6, and SA-11, come in multiple pieces, requiring a radar and TEL in separate vehicles. Plus such vehicles are difficult to hide, as we are talking about large tracked or multi-wheeled vehicles.

In my mind, it is not outside the realm of possibility that terrorists could acquire such a system via the black market and set it up in a sufficiently desolate area or perhaps a ship at sea to avoid detection and possibly shoot down an airliner. It would be extremely difficult for them to pull off, but then so is hijacking four airliners. I can't sit here and honestly say that such a thing would be impossible. Unlikely, but possible. Granted I don't have any inside knowledge of such things, nor have I ever tried to acquire a SAM, but the idea that a SAM system might disappear from some nation's inventory seems plausible to me.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineIvo From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 470 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 16876 times:

On July 3 1988, USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air A300 (EP-IBU) over the Strait of Hormuz, killing all 290 aboard, including 38 non Iranians and 66 children.

Flying from Bandar Abbas to Dubai was an 28 min flight thru air corridor Amber 59.
The short distance made for a simple flight pattern: climb to 14000 feet, cruise for a short
time, and descend to Dubai. The airliner was transmitting a friend-or-foe identification code for a civilian aircraft.


Ivo


User currently offlineJetfuel From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 2227 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 16820 times:

Short answer is YES

Long answer is YES and your isp has been traced to your address and the authorites are about to take you away



Where's the passion gone out of the airline industry? The smell of jetfuel and the romance of taking a flight....
User currently offlineDeaphen From India, joined Jul 2005, 1428 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 16582 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
By a portable SAM launcher (the sort you fit over your shoulder)? Probably not.

Thank you, thats what I thought.

Quoting Ivo (Reply 9):
Flying from Bandar Abbas to Dubai was an 28 min flight thru air corridor Amber 59.
The short distance made for a simple flight pattern: climb to 14000 feet, cruise for a short
time, and descend to Dubai. The airliner was transmitting a friend-or-foe identification code for a civilian aircraft.

Yup that is a well known shoot down.. because of the F14 which took off before it, and the warship mistook it for being the fighter.

Quoting Jetfuel (Reply 10):
Long answer is YES and your isp has been traced to your address and the authorites are about to take you away

Haha, trust me, I am much more venerable standing on the periphery of BOM with my zoom lens than posting a simple question here  

Thanks for the answers
Nitin

[Edited 2009-12-20 05:24:00 by srbmod]


I want every single airport and airplane in India to be on A.net!
User currently offlineKalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 492 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16328 times:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberia_Airlines_Flight_1812
accidentally shot down at FL360


User currently offlineWolbo From Netherlands, joined Mar 2007, 493 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16234 times:

Well I gave it a go but my snowball fell way short.

User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 901 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16222 times:



Quoting Deaphen (Reply 10):
Yup that is a well known shoot down.. because of the F14 which took off before it, and the warship mistook it for being the fighter.

That isn't really an accurate characterization...the wiki page is pretty thorough:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655

I don't want to change the thread discussion and this has been discussed before... But it is not accurate to say they "mistook it" like it was an honest mistake that anyone would have made in that circumstance...

Two interesting quotes:

Commander David Carlson, commanding officer of the USS Sides, the warship stationed near to the Vincennes at the time of the incident, is reported (Fisk, 2005) to have said that the destruction of the aircraft "marked the horrifying climax to Captain Rogers' aggressiveness, first seen four weeks ago."

When questioned in a 2000 BBC documentary, the US government stated in a written answer that they believed the incident may have been caused by a simultaneous psychological condition amongst the 18 bridge crew of the Vincennes called 'scenario fulfillment', which is said to occur when persons are under pressure. In such a situation, the men will carry out a training scenario, believing it to be reality while ignoring sensory information that contradicts the scenario. In the case of this incident, the scenario was an attack by a lone military aircraft.


User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 15844 times:

With these, no:



With these, hell yes:

http://www.ausairpower.net/48N6E-5P58TE-3-S.jpg


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 46
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 15247 times:



Quoting Ivo (Reply 8):
The airliner was transmitting a friend-or-foe identification code for a civilian aircraft.

Not true. No "civilian aircraft" has IFF (the proper name for Identify Friend/Foe) equipment let alone there being a "code for a civilian aircraft." IFF only transmits a proper reply code when interrogated with a valid challenge code. No "hey, I'm a civilian" about it.

What I think you are trying to describe is that the airliner was transmitting a standard "squawk" (MODE-3) transponder code that was assigned by ATC and one in the series that was pre-reserved (and published) for use by civilian aircraft. There is nothing about the MODE-3 transponder code that can be associated with either a military or a hostile aircraft; however, there is also nothing about a MODE-3 transponder code that can associated with confirming a friendly acft either. It is simply a 4-digit code.

Quoting Burj (Reply 13):
the US government stated in a written answer that they believed the incident may have been caused by a simultaneous psychological condition amongst the 18 bridge crew of the Vincennes called 'scenario fulfillment', which is said to occur when persons are under pressure.

Not just the "bridge crew" but the CIC/CDC crews as well. The AEGIS system displays were not very user friendly in that regard either and hindered rather than helped the crew to decipher what was really going on.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineWestern727 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 751 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 15114 times:

Gary Powers' U-2 got shot down over Russia almost 50 years ago...and he was at a higher altitude.


Jack @ AUS
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12173 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 14932 times:



Quoting Ivo (Reply 8):
On July 3 1988, USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air A300 (EP-IBU) over the Strait of Hormuz, killing all 290 aboard, including 38 non Iranians and 66 children.

Flying from Bandar Abbas to Dubai was an 28 min flight thru air corridor Amber 59.
The short distance made for a simple flight pattern: climb to 14000 feet, cruise for a short
time, and descend to Dubai. The airliner was transmitting a friend-or-foe identification code for a civilian aircraft.



Quoting Burj (Reply 13):
Quoting Deaphen (Reply 10):
Yup that is a well known shoot down.. because of the F14 which took off before it, and the warship mistook it for being the fighter.

That isn't really an accurate characterization...the wiki page is pretty thorough:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Ai...t_655

You make it sound like the USN had nothing better to do that day so they shot down an airliner.

The wiki page leaves out a few little details that do have an impact on the decision to fire on the Iran Air jetliner.

1. The USS Vincennes was engaged in a surface battle with Iranian gun/torpedo boats.
2. The manuvering of the IIAF F-14s were considered hostial
3. The Iran Air IFF was not squawking anything.
4 10 seperate radio warnings were transmitted by the Vincennes on both UHF (243.0 MHz) and VHF (121.5 MHz) guard freqs. with no response.
5. The Iran Air jet turned toward the Vincennes, which took it off the SID.
6. The Vincennes was following the ROE in effect at the time.
7. The Iranian Navy had been harrassing the USN warships for more than a month before the shoot down, which damaged a USN FFG (mine), damaged an Iranian Navy FFG (bomb), sunk another Iranian FFG (missles and gunfire), as well as many Iranian gun/torpedo boats (bombs, gunfire, missiles).

http://www.glasglow.com/e2/us/USS_Vincennes_(CG-49).html


User currently offlineKalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 492 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 14681 times:



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
3. The Iran Air IFF was not squawking anything.

wrong.
See DOD report, p.42 PDF/ p.26 document
http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/reading_room/172.pdf


User currently offlineSoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 14414 times:

Why worry about missiles when certain nations have sent up interceptors and have successfully taken down civilian 747's, then you have shoe bombers and disgruntled employees and onboard computers that disagree with themselves and last but not least, exploding fuel tanks, did I mention Canadian Geese...Seriously though, wouldn't concern yourself with errant missiles...j  bomb 

User currently offlineTrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4833 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14252 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
6. The Vincennes was following the ROE in effect at the time.

there was an excellent account in the USNI Proceedings a few years ago, to put it bluntly the Vincennes crew screwed up big time, other US ships in the area not only had radar contact with the Airbus but accurately identified it as a civilian and not a threat and they were breaking the ROE to begin with by not breaking off contact with the Iranian gunboats earlier.


User currently offlineGrimey From Ireland, joined Jun 2005, 457 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13632 times:

What about this one from 2002:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2552097.stm

I read before that a handheld missile launcher would have a good chance under 10,000 feet but anything above that would be hard to hit.

Quoting Thegeek (Reply 4):
Another problem is doing enough damage to take the airliner down. Look at the DHL shootdown incident. Would probably require several missiles. A shoulder launched weapon would likely fail this test even at low level.

Depends on where the missile hits the aircraft, the DHL was only just hit on the wing however if they were hit in any of the fuel tanks, cockpit area or if it took the vertical stabilizer off then it might be bye bye.

Quoting Flyingfox27 (Reply 5):
Well we fly over Afghanistan en route to Bangkok and back in one piece so we are safe at 39,000ft - i hope!

I was flying AMS-BKK in June 2008 and NATO was carrying out a fairly big bombing raid in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, I think we were at 37,000 ft but I could see big flashes from missiles/rockets/bombs in the distance (not too far away)

Grimey


User currently offlineBuslover From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 12974 times:

How about the Russians shooting down the KAL flight, and the Isrealis the Lybian B727, already forgotten?


The best airplane is the one you fly
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14127 posts, RR: 62
Reply 23, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12689 times:



Quoting Thegeek (Reply 4):
Another problem is doing enough damage to take the airliner down. Look at the DHL shootdown incident. Would probably require several missiles. A shoulder launched weapon would likely fail this test even at low level.

Shoulderlaunched missiles carry by necessity only small warheads of a few pounds of explovies. Large missiles, which can reach airliner cruise altitude, carry much larger warheads (hundreds of pounds, some are even nuclear, like the Nike Hercules, which was intended to be exploded above a Soviet bomber stream to destroy multiple aircraft at once). They all have proximity fuzes, which means that they´ll explode at a certain distance from the aircraft and pepper it with fragments like a huge shotgun. I´ll guarantee you that an airliner would not survive a hit by a larger AA missile. It will just be blown out of the sky.#

Quoting Buslover (Reply 22):
How about the Russians shooting down the KAL flight, and the Isrealis the Lybian B727, already forgotten?

Those were both done by jet fighters, not from the ground. It is very unlikely that a non-government connected organisation with get access to a jet fighter and air-to-air missiles.
Similarly I think that it is virtually impossibly for a terrorist organisation to set up a high altitude missile system like a SAM-2, a SAM-6, a Hawk, a Bloodhound, a Nike Ajax, a Nike Hercules or a Patriot missile with all it´s support equipment, like big radar stations (target aquisition, target tracking, missile tracking, control trailer, generator truck etc.), without being noticed.

Jan


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27241 posts, RR: 60
Reply 24, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12561 times:



Quoting Ivo (Reply 8):
On July 3 1988, USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air A300 (EP-IBU) over the Strait of Hormuz, killing all 290 aboard, including 38 non Iranians and 66 children.

That was indeed a great tragic injustice and ironic it was also an A300 . But no aircraft could have survived that slaughter.


25 EwRkId : Slightly off topic, but does an El AL a/c like their 744 or 772 have some kind of missile detection system of some sort? Maybe I am wrong...
26 Viper911 : Yes that is correct, El AL's fleet is equipped with anti missile system, called "Flight Guard"
27 NotLegalAdvice : Yes, El Al is one of a few airlines to be outfitting their aircraft with missile detection and evasion systems. Once a missile launch is detected, de
28 EwRkId : Any details on the specs?Are they the only ones to have it?
29 Post contains links BMI727 : It is manufactured by Elta. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_Guard FedEx also uses the Northrop Grumman Guardian system on some of their aircraft.
30 MD11Engineer : This will help against the usual cheap manpacks, but won´t do anything against the big, external radar controlled, vehiclemounted SAMs. Jan
31 BMI727 : As far as I can tell, the same is true of Flight Guard. Stopping radar guided systems is a much more expensive proposition and while the threat is po
32 Post contains links KL1291 : while checking out a dutch website specialized in 'funny' photos and clips, I found this remarkable clip taken by a passenger on board a domestic flyi
33 Soon7x7 : If that footage was recorded in American Airspace, the CIA would have us believe we all witnessed a weather balloon...
34 Dfambro : What passenger jet has windows like that? I've seen that clip before, IIRC it's a Japanese military plane sent up to monitor the launch. They obvious
35 EwRkId : Expensive, I wonder if it has come in use, I have only seen it in the movie "Air Force One" when the MIG fires a missile at AF1 and it banks and shou
36 Baroque : Actually IFF means "It's finally flown".
37 9VSIO : Weren't the warnings addressed to a "Iranian fighter", so the crew would have known they were being called on anyway?
38 UK_Dispatcher : And worse still, you said BOM!!
39 RussianJet : Nice, making excuses for the shooting down of a civilian airliner. Aside from the fact that you are wrong on some points (notably the squawk), if wha
40 Trex8 : well we couldn't tell the Chinese embassy in Belgrade from a Serbian government office either even though everyone in Belgrade and every tourist map
41 RussianJet : And there you have it. Hmm, not sure it's that straightforward.
42 Milesrich : KE007 was at cruise. Why has no one mentioned that slaughter by the Soviet Union, and only talked about the USS Vincennes and the Iran Air A-300?
43 Antoniemey : KE007 was, as I recall, shot down by a fighter, not a SAM, which is what the question was about.
44 Milesrich : True, but it was shot down by a small missile, not gunfire, that was fired from a fighter plane. Same type missile fired from the ground could do the
45 Diamond : This thread has caused quite a few deletions for reasons ranging from security hysteria to belittling those who were concerned about security. Persona
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