Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

North Korea Forced US Reconnaissance Plane To Land

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the plus-they're-near-deal-extreme-for-lasers dept.

The Military 417

First time accepted submitter ToBeDecided writes "A U.S. military reconnaissance plane was reportedly forced to perform an emergency landing during a major military exercise near the North Korean border in March. As revealed by the South Korean defense ministry, a strong signal transmitted from the north disrupted GPS in the area surrounding the position of the RC-7B aircraft. Without information about their position, the pilots were forced to abort their mission and return to South Korea. This raises the question whether the U.S. military would be able to perform operations in North Korea given how fragile their equipment seems to be."

cancel ×

417 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

any signal can be found and killed (2)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366280)

the US has special units and weapons that specialize in destroying radars and anything else that emits electronic signals

Re:any signal can be found and killed (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366332)

Except that is an act of war, and while not exactly inviting each other to dinner parties, we're a ways from that.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (4, Insightful)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366376)

That eventuality is presumed within the question of "whether the US military would be able to perform operations in North Korea". The question being asked is whether or not, should the need arise, the US military would be able to function in or near North Korea given the situation described above. The "need arising" means war. So, yes, presumably in peactime North Korea is able to disrupt the navigation systems of US recon planes in the area, and removing that capability would be an act of war.

Should hostilities start, presumably those capabilities would be disabled (or at least such disabling would be attempted) and whether or not that would be an act of war would be a moot question-- else why is there a need for the US to "conduct operations" in North Korea?

Re:any signal can be found and killed (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366412)

South Korea (and its allies, like the US and Japan) and North Korea are technically still at war with each other and people do occasionally get killed. So a lot of "acts of war" happen rather frequently. A more nuanced view IMHO is that this would be an unnecessary and risky escalation of a minor hostility.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366476)

Technically, we're still at war with north Korea, so no change there.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366694)

We've always been at war with North Korea.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366722)

Except that is an act of war

So is sabotaging an aircraft flying in another country's airspace.

(I'm assuming that when the article says near the border it means on the Southern side of it)

Exactly (3, Informative)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366404)

That was the procedure in Iraq. Listen for anything broadcasting on GPS frequencies and hit with laser targeted bombs. Once they were quiet move back to GPS.

Not currently an option for North Korea at the moment, so turning around and flying off is probably a good call.

Re:Exactly (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366590)

Note to self: When becoming Leader of oil-rich country, put up thousands of GPS jammers in sparsely populated areas, and schools, hospitals and embassies.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366716)

Hopefully the laser bombs use inertial platforms instead of GPS? Anyway this seems to me a strange reasoning because it postulates two different class of armaments, one with today's GPS (and other modern easy to disrupt electronics) and the other as made with modern versions of self reliant technologies, this later case being much less communicant than the first case.

Several levels of armaments (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366766)

Inertial guidance is nothing new, it was developed in the 1930s, German V1 and V2 missiles used it.

Two problems: it's less accurate and much more expensive than GPS. If you want military superiority you need both, Inertial guidance is for situations where GPS is jammed.

There are several other types of guidance systems, the US military has them all. One wonders about the wisdom of so much research on weapon systems, but it's a fact that it provides useful side-effects on civilian systems.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366434)

Quick, better tell that to all those contractors developing low probability of intercept radar/communication equipment.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366458)

An RF jamming device isn't trying to not be intercepted.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366594)

While that is perfectly true - the question remains. Why is an aircraft unable to perform it's mission because GPS has been knocked out? A pair of well trained pilots in a recon craft should be able to navigate with, or without GPS. There should be redundant systems aboard the craft, and if all the navigation systems fail and/or become questionable, the pilots themselves should be able to navigate.

Our reliance on high tech may well be our undoing. Remember, some dumb grunt with a sharp stick can make you just as dead as a highly trained American soldier with a "smart" assault rifle, night vision, and instant communications with his command post.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366660)

Because a minor navigational error during an exercise could cause an international incident. If we were at war, that would be irrelevant.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366670)

Thought it was a police act

Re:any signal can be found and killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366692)

The issue is position accuracy. Based on stars you can get to within a few miles...but what if you're trying to track a border to within ~1000 feet? That's where GPS becomes important. The pilots can certainly RTB without GPS. VOR and NDB still work, and worst case you switch to a magnetic compass and look out for landmarks. Want to put a low yield bomb into an office next to a school? Can't do it reliably without GPS.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366786)

Based on stars you can get to within a few miles...but what if you're trying to track a border to within ~1000 feet?

Wild guess, it's probably somewhere between all those bunkers and lines of barbed wire.

Want to put a low yield bomb into an office next to a school? Can't do it reliably without GPS.

Unless you have laser or TV guidance.

Re:any signal can be found and killed (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366768)

Why is an aircraft unable to perform it's mission because GPS has been knocked out

Because it has to stay on the south side of the border. If it strays over the DMZ then it becomes a legitimate target. If it's then shot down, then it's a diplomatic and political nightmare for the USA - they can't do nothing without looking weak, and they can't retaliate without escalating the conflict.

In a combat scenario, this is irrelevant. It would just fly over the border and take pictures. The inertial guidance system is more than accurate enough for this kind of activity.

Who does NK think they are? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366286)

LightSquared?

They need to get at least 2G and a sane government before they can be trying for terrestrial 4G that runs roughshod over GPS signals!

Re:Who does NK think they are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366728)

More likely, the US pilots need to be taught how to use and read a map. Growing up to Japanese consoles in grandma's basement apparently degrades the military prowess of the whole nation. Jack D. Ripper and TJ "King" Kong are surely spinning in phase in their imaginary graves.

Bad summary (what else is new) (4, Insightful)

dwillden (521345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366298)

This raises the question whether the U.S. military would be able to perform operations in North Korea given how fragile their equipment seems to be."

This says nothing about fragile equipment, this is about a jammer putting out a signal stronger than what is coming from the satellites above. The signal from the satellites is well known, and thus figuring out how to jam it is just a matter of signal strength and what type of jamming they want to do. Do they want to just bury the signal in noise, or are they trying to send false data to lure US and ROK units into NK air and sea space?

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366336)

But that's just it. If a little radio signal, rather than missiles or rounds, can bring a plane down, then it's really, really fragile. GPS is nice, but relying on it exclusively for navigation is just moronic.

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366358)

Be thankful the US military allows you to use their GPS technology and satellites.

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366388)

Your love for the US / US military has nothing to do with US Reconnaissance planes being fragile.

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366414)

You all are fucking idiots. Military navigation technology involves more than GPS. It also involves neo-gyroscopic high-accuracy dead-reckoning superimposed on top of known maps in the absence of GPS. The article is bullshit. Or actually true, given the deliberate mismanagement of today's military as a sacrifice to the war machine. The Cole bombing, [wikipedia.org] for example.

Source: I was a backshop avionics technician in the U.S. Air Force.

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366520)

I'm sure that they had inertial navigation as you described. Probably that would be enough for most situations and they simply made a decision to return in order to be sure not to get into needless trouble. However, this was a spy plane; it should have pretty much top end GPS equipment and it is high up. In that situation, it should be easy to use a directionally selective GPS antenna which ignores Satellites in the direction of the jamming signal (e.g. below the horizon). It's a pretty major problem if they are unable to do that and definitely suggests that ground teams that might rely on GPS and won't be able to carry a good enough intertial navigation system will be very vulnerable.

Incidentally, I've noticed that a friend's car seems to have intertial navigation built into it's GPS nowadays (the system continues functioning in his underground garage. That is really cool.

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366804)

In that situation, it should be easy to use a directionally selective GPS antenna which ignores Satellites in the direction of the jamming signal (e.g. below the horizon).

Assuming the jammer is ground-based then would an inverted tinfoil hat do it?

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (2)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366560)

Returning to base because some of the instruments are being jammed is a normal precaution when not in battle, it is not at all the same as something that can "bring a plane down."

Welcome to English, please enjoy your stay.

Re:Bad summary (what else is new) (2)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366626)

Or, far more likely, the pilot/controllers chose returning to base and letting the politicians handle it as the best response to North Korean saber rattling.

Re:Bad response (what else is new) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366348)

First you say it says nothing about fragile equipment, then you say "thus figuring out how to jam it is just a matter of signal strength and what type of jamming they want to do." i.e. you admit that they hardly needed to do anything at all to steer off hostile planes.

So:
We should all agree here that in war, where some sort of explosives or fast travelling masses are normally used to take out enemy vessels.
We should all also agree that most vessels even have some protection for such violent attacks.
We should all also agree that in contrast, if a vessel is taken out by simply disturbing GPS signals, that it's as fragile as a paper plane.

Re:Bad response (what else is new) (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366398)

We should all also agree that in contrast, if a vessel is taken out by simply disturbing GPS signals, that it's as fragile as a paper plane.

Not really. The plane did not crash.It returned safely. To me that means it was able to fly.

To be sure that it was as vulnerable as a paper plane, we must also be sure that in peace time and in ware time, the same precautions are taken. For all I know during a war time mission, they would say 'Turn of the GPS and use other things to get where we drop our bombs'. While now they say 'Hey something goes on, this is not a critical mission, let's go back'.

Re:Bad response (what else is new) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366420)

I responded to the guy's flaky reason, not to the questionably accuracy of the article. He was right for the wrong reasons.
All your points are valid as long as they would be directed towards the article.

Re:Bad response (what else is new) (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366606)

actually, during war, it's "Anybody who turns on a radio that isn't ours gets HAARM'd".

Re:Bad response (what else is new) (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366632)

"We should all also agree that most vessels even have some protection for such violent attacks."

Actually, no. There are very few aircraft that are armored. Some aircraft have a few "hardened" points within the craft, ie, the cockpit on commercial craft have locking hatches nowadays. Armoring an aircraft just enough to protect against a near miss from a fragmenting missile is prohibitively expensive, in terms of fuel and maneuverability, not to mention the cost of the aircraft.

Even ships aren't armored. Take a typical destroyer, in any of the world's modern navies. A high powered sporting rifle can penetrate the hull in most places. Those places impenetrable by such a rifle aren't exaclty "armored" - they are just stronger sections of the hull, made necessary by the ship's size, design, and the forces that act upon the ship.

You might experiment a little bit. Go buy an old junker of a car, and get a .22 rifle. Start trying to armor your car so that the .22 can't penetrate it. By the time you're finished making that car impenetrable, you'll have tens of thousands of dollars invested, and the car will weigh between 3 1/2 and 5 tons. Kiss performance good-bye!

BTW - don't do that little experiment in the US of A. Most certainly don't perform such an experiment within several miles of an airport, military installation, or government office. You're likely to end up in Guantanamo bay, as a guest of the US government.

The Plane in Question, Mr. Kim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366502)

Also, just so we're clear: Google the plane model.

This is what we're talking about:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Canada_Dash_7 [wikipedia.org]

F-22 level, custom-built airframe, notsomuch.

Special organic structure interferes with signal: (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366300)

Re:Special organic structure interferes with signa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366616)

Not really so funny, even 2 years ago and in context.

Calling it an "emergency" seems sensational (4, Insightful)

SwabTheDeck (1030520) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366306)

It's believable that the GPS system got disrupted, but it's hard to believe that this somehow forced them to land. If they were doing recon, then GPS is pretty critical so that they can exactly pinpoint what they're surveying. However, even the lowliest pilots can navigate without GPS (this is required to pass any level of flight school, let alone military-level). I can understand the mission being scrapped due to this type of disruption, but I can't believe that they were in any sort of danger.

Easy to tell they could still navigate (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366492)

They landed normally. It wasn't like the thing dropped out of the sky, they broke off and landed back at their base. They had to navigate to do that.

As I said in my other post, I'm sure it was for safety reasons and not crossing the border reasons that they called it off. Why take risks you don't have to in training?

Re:Easy to tell they could still navigate (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366730)

the headline makes it seem like north korean jets surrounded the recon plane and gestured it to land "or else", because that's what a forced landing is.
the headline sounds like fucking north korean loyalists wrote it.

in other news north korea "forced" the entire air fleet involved in the operation to eventually return to base!

Re:Calling it an "emergency" seems sensational (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366746)

The more interesting story here is that the US is doing exercises near North Korean airspace. Here is a militaristic country with nuclear weapons and with China on one side and South Korea on the other, as well as Japan close by. They have medium range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Everyone wants them to stop antagonising their neighbours, launching missile tests over them, doing nuclear testing... And the US and Japan have perfectly good spy satellites.

Apple (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366308)

Nah, they're just holding their iSpy wrong

No it doesn't (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366312)

"This raises the question whether the U.S. military would be able to perform operations in North Korea given how fragile their equipment seems to be."

What an amazingly stupid statement. All kinds of things to consider:

1) Rules are different for peace time and war time. You are more careful in an exercise than in combat. Planes have other navigation systems, like inertial navigation, however they aren't as precise. During a drill, you take the careful approach, abort, and back out. In combat, probably not.

2) The reason precise positioning is so important in this case is because they need to make sure to not cross the border. This matters less in wartime. There are things that call for precise positioning but not ever flight needs it all the time.

3) They managed to get one plane to land. Oh wow, that would be useful if the US had 2 planes but they don't, they have thousands. Does the system work so well against that many?

4) Anything generating a signal is a target. Lock on the signal and blast it. There are even missiles for that sort of thing called AGM-88 HARMs. Their design is to nail radar facilities but it wouldn't take much change to make them nail GPS jammers, and the US may already have models for that.

5) How well is this going to work if you don't know the planes are even there, like say the B-2Bs, which they can't detect to target, and yet which can carry tons (literally) of precision munitions?

While I'm sure the US isn't pleased about this and it doesn't help, it isn't as though this would suddenly stop US craft from functioning. All it can do is stop precise navigation in whatever area it is effective in. It also can only do so as long as it can transmit. Anything hostile that broadcasts a signal had better be able to move fast and defend itself. If not, it will go 'asplode in a big hurry.

Re:No it doesn't (2, Interesting)

mr_exit (216086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366378)

I've got a friend who lived in Yugoslavia when NATO attacked. NATO had these anti radar missiles, tens of thousands of dollars a pop. The Yugoslavs took old microwave ovens out into the field, rigged them to work without a door and pointed them at the sky. they would flick them on when NATO planes were reported. The plane would empty it's load of anti radar missiles and immediately turn home.

Re:No it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366448)

Those ovens were probably brand new. At least in Czechoslovakia, we didn't even know what a microwave oven was until after 1989.

I'm going to have to call bullshit (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366478)

First because of all the claims "I've got a friend who..." has to be the least reliable form of evidence ever. Sorry, but the amount of made up shit out there is legendary, and gets worse in each retelling. It isn't just a story, it is hearsay of a story.

Then there's the fact that military radars don't work at 2.4GHz. If the S band was in heavy use for that, there would be problems with interference with other 2.4GHz devices. Military radar is mostly X band (8-12GHz). If you think that these things can't be designed to sniff for different ranges, you are kidding yourself.

Then there's signal strength. A microwave's magnetron is 1000 watts or so, and is not designed for directional transmission. Military radar is an order of magnitude above that or more. It is also steered directionally towards what you want (either mechanically or by phased arrays) to keep power dispersion down. A microwave would not show up at all the same as a military radar.

Finally there's the fact that, well, it clearly didn't do much even if it happened. Yugoslavia lost, rather badly, to nothing but an air war. They left Kosovo. It wasn't as though the NATO planes were befuddled and they had to send in ground troops. It was the first war where airpower alone did the trick.

Back on topic, that kind of thing would do jack and shit for the North Koreans with regards to GPS jamming. Not only does the signal need to be much more powerful, but it is the wrong band. GPS works in the L band. Building high power, L band decoys might work... But then those are probably effective jammers so no real difference.

Re:I'm going to have to call bullshit (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366538)

That was an excellent rebuttal .. wish I had modding power to + it.

Re:I'm going to have to call bullshit (5, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366618)

GP's anecdote seems to be a folk exaggeration of the story of Zoltan Dani [wikipedia.org] , the "I've shot down an F-117" Serbian guy. Quoting Wikipedia:

Lt. Col. Dani made it a strict field rule that the SA-3's UNV type fire control radar could only be turned on for a maximum of 2 x 20 seconds in combat, after which the battery's equipment must be immediately broken down and trucked to a pre-prepared alternative launch site, whether or not any missile has been fired. This rule proved essential, because other Serbian AAA units, emitting high-frequency radiation for any longer periods or forgetting to relocate, were hit by AGM-88 HARM missile counter-strikes from NATO aircraft, suffering radar equipment and personnel losses.

Radar sets obtained from confiscated Iraqi MiG-21 planes were planted around the SAM sites to serve as active emitter decoys, which diverted some anti-radiation missiles from the actual targets (dozens of Iraqi MiG-21/23 warplanes, sent to Yugoslavia for industrial overhaul, were seized in 1991, after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.) Retired SAM radar sets were used as optical decoys, left at well-known military bases to lure NATO planes waste munition on worthless targets. Owing to these measures, Dani's unit evaded 23 incoming HARM missiles, all of which impacted off-site with insignificant or zero damages.

This was probably overlaid on top of other factual stories of Serbs using decoys for their military equipment to curtail damage. Also from WP:

Most of the targets hit in Kosovo were decoys, such as tanks made out of plastic sheets with telegraph poles for gun barrels, or old World War II–era tanks which were not functional ... At the end of war, NATO officially claimed they destroyed 93 Yugoslav tanks. Yugoslavia admitted a total of 13 destroyed tanks. The latter figure was verified by European inspectors when Yugoslavia rejoined the Dayton accords, by noting the difference between the number of tanks then and at the last inspection in 1995.

Similar figures are there for other equipment. So Yugoslavia did not suffer significant military damage or casualties - most of NATO bombings disrupted civilian infrastructure (which NATO has conveniently redesignated as "dual-purpose", leading to events such as Grdelica train bombing), and most victims of them were civilians. But the way Serbia avoided decimation of its military was, effectively, by dodging the open fight.

Re:I'm going to have to call bullshit (0)

X.25 (255792) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366674)

First because of all the claims "I've got a friend who..." has to be the least reliable form of evidence ever. Sorry, but the amount of made up shit out there is legendary, and gets worse in each retelling. It isn't just a story, it is hearsay of a story.

Then there's the fact that military radars don't work at 2.4GHz. If the S band was in heavy use for that, there would be problems with interference with other 2.4GHz devices. Military radar is mostly X band (8-12GHz). If you think that these things can't be designed to sniff for different ranges, you are kidding yourself.

Then there's signal strength. A microwave's magnetron is 1000 watts or so, and is not designed for directional transmission. Military radar is an order of magnitude above that or more. It is also steered directionally towards what you want (either mechanically or by phased arrays) to keep power dispersion down. A microwave would not show up at all the same as a military radar.

Finally there's the fact that, well, it clearly didn't do much even if it happened. Yugoslavia lost, rather badly, to nothing but an air war. They left Kosovo. It wasn't as though the NATO planes were befuddled and they had to send in ground troops. It was the first war where airpower alone did the trick.

Back on topic, that kind of thing would do jack and shit for the North Koreans with regards to GPS jamming. Not only does the signal need to be much more powerful, but it is the wrong band. GPS works in the L band. Building high power, L band decoys might work... But then those are probably effective jammers so no real difference.

Of course, you will also say that there is no chance that NATO planes kill hundreds and hundreds of real-life sized models of military equipment.

Anti-radar missiles also didn't end up in Bulgaria. Nope.

Dear God, why dumb people like you even bother writing such piles of crap?

You can talk for days about your theoretical wikipedia knowledge about military systems, but you have never seen any of those systems being deployed in wartime, nor do you have any idea how simple it is to counter some of the high-tech equipment, nor what is the failure rate on those high-tech weapons.

You probably don't realize how easy it is/was to kill UAVs, for example. But I bet you could talk about how hard it is, for 5 paragraphs.

Re:No it doesn't (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366484)

Shame on the RIO for not being able to distinguish between a dirty, non-directional S-band emitter, and a C or X band sweeping search radar. The only constant signal would be targeting radar, which would be a much higher effective power, and much higher frequency, than that microwave.

Re:No it doesn't (4, Insightful)

bungo (50628) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366462)

Indeed. I would go so far as to say that this was actually a success.

The U.S. military now have better knowledge of the North Korea's capability and tactics. They now know that in the even of war, before the drop any GPS guided munitions, they now have the exact location of a target to take out.

This is no different to the old Soviet days, when US planes would test Soviet defenses, provoking a reaction to gain intelligence.

Re:No it doesn't (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366534)

While I'm sure the US isn't pleased about this and it doesn't help...

On the other hand, knowing that they have this capability and what it looks like to our aircraft, and perhaps where it came from - these things might be very valuable intel indeed. So, maybe we really *are* pleased...

Disinformation (2)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366646)

"I'm sure the US isn't pleased about this"

Or maybe the U.S. *wants* North Korea to think that the U.S. is not pleased.

Although... North Korea showing their hand by jamming a signal in peace time is a pretty stupid move. Maybe North Korea *wants* the U.S. to think that North Korea is pleased about jamming a U.S. plane, when infact they have a much more powerful jammer which they didn't use. Hmm....

Bollocks. They'd just use INS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366316)

Gee, whatever did we do in the days before GPS? I know, we had maps and Inertial Navigation Systems - which we STILL use.

Fragile equipment my ass.

Inertial Navigation? Anyone? Bueller? (1)

x0 (32926) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366320)

Easily solved with a 30+ year old INS system...

Re:Inertial Navigation? Anyone? Bueller? (1)

x0 (32926) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366328)

And secondly, do we not teach aircrews what meaconing is any longer?

The question isn't the fragility of systems. (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366326)

This raises the question of 'How did they do this in World War II, before we had GPS?'

Fancy modern crap breaks sometimes. This is why we have amazing technology called 'maps'.

Re:The question isn't the fragility of systems. (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366392)

Fancy modern crap has the upper hand with missiles that follow maps of surface features without any outside guidance.

Re:The question isn't the fragility of systems. (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366426)

This raises the question of 'How did they do this in World War II, before we had GPS?'

Very badly. Aerial navigation in WWII barely worked. Bombers routinely had trouble finding their targets. The V-1 and V-2 could at best hit a city-sized target; using them to attack an airfield was hopeless. (Had they been accurate enough to hit airfields, the Battle of Britain might have turned out differently.) There were various radio beam schemes, most of which were jammable.

Much bombing was done by sending in the best navigators as "pathfinders". They dropped incendiaries, and the other bombers dropped bombs on the resulting fire. Both sides occasionally set up big bonfires to divert bombers looking for such fires.

Re:The question isn't the fragility of systems. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366762)

but that's just bullshit to say that ww2-> gps.

the traditional autopilots work by inertial systems. it's very complex and low tolerance thing to build of course, but they were experimenting with them before fifties.

OMFG (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366344)

I bet you cant even begin to count the times we have sent planes over hostile territory on a monthly basis , but you can count the failures with your fingers

its just a law of statistics now learn how to navigate without GPS, people have been doing it for generations

Fragile? (1, Insightful)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366352)

The U.S. Army is the most powerful fighting force in the history of the world. An M1A2 tank is not fragile. The U.S.S. Enterprise in not fragile. The U.S. Marine Corps is anything but fragile.

Every time U.S. forces have come up against Soviet-doctrine troops and equipment in a regular battle (as opposed to a counterinsurgency campaign) after the Korean War ( a draw), the U.S. has soundly kicked their asses. The more technologically advanced the equipment, the less likely it has been to break down. "Smart" weapons of the 1970s were finicky and prone to failure; today's smart weapons are remarkably robust in comparison.

When U.S. forces went up up against the largest and best-equipped Arab army in the first Gulf War, they wiped them out. Read up on The Battle of 73 Easting, where U.S. 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment went up against the Iraqi Republican Guards (and their "robust" Soviet equipment) and absolutely destroyed them.

Lake of GPS would be a serious disadvantage...right up until the AGM-88 HARM took out the jamming stations. Which would probably be less than a hour after the strike packets were launched. If the U.S. can't rely on GPS, there are fallbacks (terrain mapping and getting coordinates from JSTARS come to mind).

With GPS, the U.S. military is the most formidable fighting force in the world. Without GPSstill the most formidable fighting force in the world.

Re:Fragile? (0)

X.25 (255792) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366652)

Every time U.S. forces have come up against Soviet-doctrine troops and equipment in a regular battle (as opposed to a counterinsurgency campaign) after the Korean War ( a draw), the U.S. has soundly kicked their asses. The more technologically advanced the equipment, the less likely it has been to break down. "Smart" weapons of the 1970s were finicky and prone to failure; today's smart weapons are remarkably robust in comparison.

Did you actually think before you wrote that wall of nonsense?

Re:Fragile? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366662)

There are a bunch of "fragility" issues with some of U.S. military equipment - the whole clusterfuck that is M16/M4 comes to mind - but reliability of equipment is not a sole factor winning the war. U.S. has logistical capabilities superior to pretty much everyone else out there, so things breaking down in the field is less of an issue; and, of course, in any case training is far more important, and U.S. military is also very advanced in that department. Another aspect is that even if some equipment is fragile, well, so what, so long as there are loads of it to use, way more than the enemy can afford? There's a reason why U.S. spends more on military than the rest of the world combined.

Every time U.S. forces have come up against Soviet-doctrine troops and equipment in a regular battle (as opposed to a counterinsurgency campaign) after the Korean War ( a draw), the U.S. has soundly kicked their asses.

This left me scratching my head, actually. After Korea, what conflicts were those where U.S. forces have came into open confrontation with Soviet-doctrine troops? Vietnam was, arguably, closer to a "counterinsurgency campaign", really. Do you mean Iraq? these guys were so outclassed on hardware it's not even funny, so I don't think it's a meaningful comparison.

ead up on The Battle of 73 Easting, where U.S. 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment went up against the Iraqi Republican Guards (and their "robust" Soviet equipment) and absolutely destroyed them.

Yep - T-72, even originally designed as a cheap, mass-production vehicle; and then we're talking about 72M export variant, which was trimmed down even further - and then account for it being 20 years old by the time of the battle. That against a modern MBT - M1A1 was only 5 years old then.

To give some comparison, Iraqi T-72Ms had 300mm conventional (homogeneous) armor, whereas M1A1 had composite armor equivalent to 600m vs AP sabot rounds. So, basically, an M1A1 can hit a T-72M at roughly twice the distance at which the latter can actually return fire. It's like having a Browning M2 against a bunch of guys with AKs in an open field with no cover.

In practice, Soviet equipment does usually tend to be more robust than U.S. equipment of the same generation, and usually has same or better combat performance (infantry small arms being one notable exception for that last part). However, it is also usually harder to handle. More importantly, the likelihood of U.S. forces facing this kind of equipment is very low, just because all likely potential adversaries - like DPRK - are armed with severely outdated Soviet exports, usually dating back ~30 years by now. Unless U.S. faces Russia or China directly on the battlefield - and even then, in case of Russia, it's starting to fall behind since it mostly relies on Soviet-era equipment and cannot upgrade it fast enough.

"Perform operations in North Korea"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366360)

> This raises the question whether the U.S. military would be able to perform operations in North Korea given how fragile their equipment seems to be."

In the event of war, the pilots won't exactly care about not straying into North Korean airspace...doing so would sort of be the idea after all.

at least they didn't get shot down (2)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366362)

These aren't jet jockeys, these are the "guys in the van". Had they tried being heroic, they'd have probably crashed or been shot down over NK and then they'd have created a huge publicity stunt for North Korea to use in their own favor. There's no reason to give NK free hostages just because the GPS radio didn't work correctly.

Reentering warheads are completely ballistic (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366364)

Reentering warheads are completely ballistic

Jamming GPS doesn't make them bulletproof. Lack of GPS was a matter of the standing orders being to abort in the event of GPS failure, not even a matter of the navigator being able to use/trust their inertial systems alone.

-- Terry

Consider (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366372)

In a peacetime exercise, the most important thing other than not crashing is to not violate an unfriendly nation's airspace. You need to be quite certain of your exact position. If navigation is less than perfect, it's just not worth the risk.

In a wartime mission, violating the unfriendly country's airspace is implicit. You need navigation good enough to make a sighting of your target.

Has to be more to it. (4, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366390)

I'm inclined to believe there's more to it than what's in the story. Military aircraft do not rely solely on GPS for guidance. Perhaps drones and missiles do, but piloted military aircraft have redundant systems for guidance, including a sextant. Why do you think all aircraft other than a few fighters have a pilot and copilot? The copilot can act as navigator, and most tactical aircraft also have a navigator in addition to the two pilots.

Of course, this being just a drill, they may have said "screw it" and just landed. Any real reconnaissance mission would have be continued using redundant systems.

Or, they may have wanted to give that dike looking Kim Jong-il a big head and make him think he made a state of the art US military aircraft run for the boarder.

Any way you look at it, unless he zapped the plane with an EMF pulse strong enough to knock out the avionics systems, there is no way he could have done anything electronically to make them have to perform an emergency landing.

Ditto for the military naval vessels. The civilian naval vessels, yeah, it's possible they don't have anything other than GPS.

Blegh (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366394)

GPS should be supplemented with inertial guidance.

GPS isn't the only thing they have (2)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366396)

US Military pilots have other means of navigation than GPS. During times of actual conflict, these systems are used in order to prevent just these sorts of situations.

During peacetime, though, there's the possibility that the military's use of these resources could interfere with civilian flights--so unless there's an actual war going on in the area, they'll stick with the peacetime stuff.

That's not to say that these other methods are jam-proof--but anyone attempting to jam them will have to work hard enough to make themselves a target for an anti-radiation missile.

Mod story troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366418)

Seriously, what an inane comment.

I'm not exactly rooting for the DPRK but... (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366446)

Isn't it a bit odd we're outright questioning an invasion when both sides have been maintaining peace for over 50 years?

Re:I'm not exactly rooting for the DPRK but... (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366528)

Do some research. The status quo since 1953 has been far from peace.

Needs confirmation (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366452)

This is all coming from one story from Agence France-Presse. More info is needed. The US DoD says they don't have a record of this happening.

It's possible that it might be a South Korean plane of a US type, not a USAF plane. If someone was just up on a routine training flight, they might choose to land due to a GPS failure. With no mission to complete, there's no reason not to. Wait for Aviation Leak to cover the story.

All major USAF aircraft have inertial navigation capability, and have for decades. Everyone assumes GPS will be jammed. Even "smart bombs" have a low end inertial navigation system, one that gets its initial fix from the much better INS in the aircraft and only has to guide for about a minute.

"Military exercise near the North Korean border" (1)

Stormtrooper42 (1850242) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366454)

Military exercise near the North Korean border

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:"Military exercise near the North Korean border (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366564)

US forces routinely patrol the DMZ.

Are they sure it was from the ground? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366466)

Maybe the crew was playing with an RC car on board the aircraft and that jammed the signals. Obviously too embarrassed to confess such an act, the crew hastily created some excuse about North Korean jamming equipment.

US saying it isn't true (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366472)

The US is denying this happened, and I'm inclined to believe them. Pilots have to learn to navigate without instruments, including gps. Jamming a gps system wouldn't force anyone to land. Also, this gps jamming signal is a giant target. In an actual conflict it would be a giant sign saying "DROP BOMBS ON ME".

slippery slope? Cliff face, more like. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366494)

MdrTaco is gone less than a month and the site editing goes totally to shit. well done. /. is sadly finished, all of a sudden you make 4chan look professional.

Wow, that sure inspires confidence. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366498)

Don't they teach navigation in flight school anymore?

-jcr

Re:Wow, that sure inspires confidence. (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366530)

We already know that they don't teach stall recovery.

designer clothing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366504)

Buy replica clothing [tradekey2006.com] online from Chinese cheap clothing [tradekey2006.com] manufacturers who can supply brand clothing [tradekey2006.com] , cheap replica apparel [tradekey2006.com] , cheap Jeans online ,discount designer clothes for wholesale cheap apparel from china [tradekey2006.com] online store. Replica designer clothing [tradekey2006.com] include the cheap Jeans for sale [tradekey2006.com] ,even the Ralph Lauren POLO shirts for sale [tradekey2006.com] online outlet .So get cheap quality clothing [tradekey2006.com] from wholesale chinese cheap designer clothing [tradekey2006.com] online outlet is the smart choice for you for wholesale clothing [tradekey2006.com] .absolutely we can also offer you the cheap replica shoes [tradekey2006.com] online, the hot selling replica shoes are cheap Air jordan for sale [tradekey2006.com] , UGG boots for women [tradekey2006.com] , D&G sneakers on sale [tradekey2006.com] and so on at cheap price , there are also available the cheap replica fashion accessories [tradekey2006.com] in the chinese cheap apparel wholesaler [tradekey2006.com] online store and designer clothing [tradekey2006.com] outlet .

Disinformation? (4, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366510)

Why should the plane demonstrate whether it has ability to navigate under a certain type of jamming? I lived close to the inner-german border at cold war times and i saw the funny patterns which were flown, obviously to test the enemy radar capabilities and confuse them.

Maybe an accident? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366514)

The article mentions that the jamming signal came from two North Korean cities so I wonder if GPS is routinely jammed in North Korea and if the jamming signal was accidentally on purpose leaked across the border.

Pragmatism? (3, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366516)

I do wonder if the reason they aborted was simply because it was the easier thing to do. If North Korea are being dicks, it's far easier and less risky to just let them get on with it - so long as they're not doing anything more than just being a PITA.

I'm sure the crew of an RC-7B is actually more than capable of navigating without GPS, if they needed to. Pilots managed it for decades before GPS was invented. Sailors managed it for millennia.

All modern equipment is. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366536)

Modern equipment rely too much on electronics. Since 1970s, the battlefield became a place of immense variation of electromagnetic emissions of all kinds - from targeting systems, radars in all vehicles to radios, encrypted ciphers, electronic counter measures and electronic counter counter measures. and then gps got added to the mix. and it gets worse every day.

see, the deal is, despite all these equipment are able to perform in conjunction THEORETICALLY, and they were tested in training exercises participated by many nations, they were never tested in a real war environment against a capable enemy which uses same kind of equipment. iraq, afghanistan were all against sources that could not equally retaliate with hi tech equipment and all the mumbo jumbo it brings. iraqis even had some last generation rolands, and their and other low altitude air defense systems' effectiveness basically instantly and decisively killed the 'tree top flying radar evading strike aircraft / cas aircraft' nonsense that was MUCH touted in between 1970 and 1990, and many aircraft was built over that concept (from tornado to a10), and they fielded some russian and french airplanes of late generation (which were never enough in number to make any presence) and that was that. nothing to put on a real conflict. actually, even the fact that the 'tree top flying radar evading strike aicraft' bullshit, which was so much touted and funded got totally invalidated in its first conflict by scattered air defense systems should tell us a lot - there is A LOT of untested shit in modern military technology.

now imagine a real battlefield with capable enemies. both sides will turn the space in conflict zone to an electromagnetic hell with all their equipment, unwittingly. from radios to ecms to radars it will be a em wave hell. leave aside the effect of ecms and eccms, what effect would the very presence of huge electromagnetic random noise in variation and magnitude make on electronic equipment is totally unknown.

this is a simple example. a simple em wave, forced a recon aircraft (which is something that is very well equipped with ecm and eccms for recon duties btw) to totally lose its bearings and have to land.

Future war without GPS and Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366542)

Lately, I've been thinking about what a conventional, all out, no hold barred, war between major nations in the future might play out. Let's say we have the US on one side and some bad guy of Uncle Sam. One scenario is the enemy doing a pre-emptive strike without the US expecting (think Pearl Harbour style). The enemy decides to target orbital satellites that directly affect GPS, whilst cutting under sea Internet backbone connection around the world, simultaneously. Sophisticated yes, do-able absolutely. This would cause allied nations to be isolated from each other and the fog of war just got much thicker. Imagine trying to google for information on what the hell is going on only to find it is unavailable outside of the US. How much and how long would this crippled US defense capabilities, minutes, hours, days? Dunno, but maybe enough time for the enemy to have the edge and cause a real headache. Would the US have to resort to old school intelligence gathering by sending out soldiers, whether by aircraft, navy vessel or even by foot? No more nice satellite photos from the comfort of an air-con room.

That's it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366570)

Screw you guys, I'm going home. Talking with Kim Jong Il is where I draw the line!

"Raises the question" ... if you are an idiot (4, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366588)

This raises the question whether the U.S. military would be able to perform operations in North Korea given how fragile their equipment seems to be."

Let's assume that the incident really did happen. The US has already denied it, but less assume it happened. Jamming is all about blasting a very loud signal that drowns out other signals. During a military operation GPS jamming the US is a pretty ineffective technique for a number of reasons.

First, there are a number of methods of navigating and targeting without GPS. GPS is easy and accurate, but if all of the GPS satellites fell out of the sky, they US military would still happily navigate its planes around and drop bombs. The US military is designed to go toe to toe with Russia and China. Go ahead and assume that the idea that their GPS satellites might be denied to them has crossed their minds. The US doesn't build stealth bombers to kill sheep herders. The US military might be good and killing sheep herders, but it is designed to fight a modern military.

Second, if you are dumb enough to turn on a GPS jammer powerful enough to knock out a plane's GPS navigation during a time of conflict, you pretty much deserve the missile that is going to fly up your arse a few minutes later. Jamming is done by blasting a very powerful signal out into the air. A very powerful signal is trivial to track. You might as well paint your GPS jamming equipment bright red and leave it out in an open field with arrows pointing to it. The first thing the US does in any sort of air war is to level anything that transmits. Normally, this is for taking out radar stations to blind air defenses, but it also applies to any attempts to jam. You really don't want to try and get into an ECM battle with the US. If you are screaming at the top of your long loud enough to jam GPS, you are being more than noisy enough for a missile to follow the signal back to the source.

Third, the airplane was not 'forced down'. If the story is true, what happened was they aborted their mission. That seems like a pretty legitimate thing to do if the mission isn't critical. I am sure they could have carried on if they wanted to, but they decided to play it safe. They were flying close to hostile territory doing a mission that will be fine if it waits a day or two longer. Hell, they might not even known they were being jammed until after the fact and were just concerned that their GPS equipment was malfunctioning. Delaying a signal flight for a couple of hours is hardly a stirring victory. If those plans had been sent to do something hostile, GPS jamming wouldn't have worked. The jammers would have been quickly destroyed or the plans could have navigated and hit their targets without GPS, or more likely, both would have happened. The jammer would have been destroyed and the plans on a mission would have merrily carried on without waiting.

This whole article is sensationalist crap.

Re:"Raises the question" ... if you are an idiot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366658)

Well at least the submitter didn't say that it begged the question.

Near the North Korean border, my ass! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366598)

I doubt it was near the border, more likely the U.S. plane completely disregarded the border and the U.S. government is lying about the whole thing.

When I made my military service in the Swedish air force in the early 1990's, several NATO spy planes passed over Swedish air space every week. Since there was no point in letting U.S.A. know that the Swedish defence system was able to see them, Sweden only complained about a very small number of the really slow or clumsy ones and then got some lame excuse that they had navigated wrong. Since U.S./NATO had many moles within the Swedish Armed Forces, they likely knew that Sweden knew anyway, they also likely knew that we could have taken down at least 1/3 of them while they were still inside Swedish air space, even if the passovers usually took less then a second. The planes was way to fast, well camoflaged and agile to be civilian aircraft’s, there were never any doubt that they were military or that most of them came from NATO (unless NATO allowed foreign spy planes to land on their military bases and air craft carriers). [ Biting my lip to not expose anything that could still be a Swedish military secret ]

There were occasional Russian spy planes passing over Sweden too, but at the time I made my military service, the Warsaw pact and the Soviet Union had just ceased to exist and the Russian government was more focused on what happened inside their country then spying on foreign nations. At least at that time, Russian spy technology was also still more advanced then the NATO one, so they could likely get the same information as the NATO spy planes without flying into foreign territory.

P.S. Most of the NATO spy planes likely didn't spy on Sweden, but on Russia and other former Warsaw Pact countries, most of the spy planes passing over Sweden flew into such territories or turned just before they reached their borders, Sweden just happened to be in between. NATO/U.S. had easy and cheap direct access to that kind of Swedish military secrets through all their moles within the Swedish armed forces, no need to send expensive air planes.

Easy answer (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366610)

With the exceptions of help in the case of a natural disaster (as if the North Koreans would accept that), we can safely assume that any large-scale military action by the US in NK would either start with covert operations or areal bombardment.

To answer the question in the summary: yes, of course, the US military would be able to perform operations in NK.

In case anyone was interested in the RC-7B (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366612)

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/systems/arl.htm [globalsecurity.org]

It appears to be a comint prop-job. :) The fact that it got hit by what apparently was a UWB signal is interesting, given the Air Force's interest in that area of emissions the last decade or so. Let's not get too hasty in crowing North Korea "electronic warfare kings" just yet, though. :)

Re:In case anyone was interested in the RC-7B (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366810)

Probably just a test of the Chinese military (using North Korea as a base, as it often does for such tests of military hardware).

NK B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366638)

Anyone ever considered the fact that military uses an encrypted GPS shot to prevent jamming?

GPS Jamming B.S. (0)

sk0oba (2458872) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366654)

I know this is B.S. The military uses encrypted GPS shots.

Re:GPS Jamming B.S. (2)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#37366726)

Encryption does not prevent DoS. Duh.

mod Up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37366710)

7000 users of Enjoy the loud Flaws In the BSD walk up to a play to die. I will jam took precedence
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?