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Washington DC airspace violation

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Washington DC airspace violation

Old 26th Nov 2019, 14:51
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Washington DC airspace violation

CNBC is reporting that the US Capitol was on heightened alert after an airspace violation.

Anyone have any details on the nature of the violation? Just a drone? or did someone depart from a flightpath?
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 17:47
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A statement from the Capitol Police.

The Secret Service has administrative control over P-56, the prohibited area over the White House, the Capitol and other nearby buildings.

A Cessna 150 was crashed into the White House in 1994 with little damage.

From the Secret Service Director's 2014 Congressional testimony:

National Capital Region Airspace

Airspace security for the NCR is coordinated by the interagency National Capital Region Coordination Center (NCRCC). The NCRCC was created after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to provide real-time information sharing and tactical coordination to address potential airborne threats in and around the Washington, D.C., area. It has representatives from the military, the FAA and, certain federal civilian law enforcement agencies on duty at all times to speed communication and coordination in the event of an unknown or hostile airborne track of interest. The Secret Service staffs its positions in the NCRCC at all times with specially trained personnel assigned to the Secret Service Airspace Security Branch.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the dimensions of the restricted flight zones over Washington, D.C., changed. The FAA implemented the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) which includes within its boundaries, the Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) and Prohibited Area 56 (P-56). The White House and the Vice President’s residence are located in the P-56.

In order to enter the SFRA or the FRZ, an aircraft must have approval from the FAA. After obtaining this waiver, flights seeking to enter the P-56 must seek an additional waiver and meet a number of additional requirements. The Secret Service was granted use authority of the P-56 by the FAA, which provides the Secret Service the authority to administratively control who flies within the P-56.
2 The Secret Service, in consultation with the Capitol Police and Park Police, advises the FAA on the waiver and it is the FAA that issues the Certificate of Authorization to the pilot.



There are surface-to-air missile batteries imported from Norway on buildings in the area:


https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/americas-capitol-is-guarded-by-norwegian-surface-to-ai-1556894733
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 18:50
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If you were to drill a bit deeper into this you would find that the radar and the missile are in fact US. A Norwegian company designed a superb network architecture.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 00:41
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Looks like it may have been a flock of birds:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/26/polit...ace/index.html
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 11:57
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Sure.
Birds? Not.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 12:59
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
There are surface-to-air missile batteries imported from Norway on buildings in the area:

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/americas-capitol-is-guarded-by-norwegian-surface-to-ai-1556894733
A CBS producer spotted a missile battery during the lockdown yesterday and her picture of it is swirling around the twittersphere.












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Old 27th Nov 2019, 13:09
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Originally Posted by EPHD75 View Post
If you were to drill a bit deeper into this you would find that the radar and the missile are in fact US. A Norwegian company designed a superb network architecture.
Are you sure? Are you talking about the NASAMS in the Tyler Rogoway article? I'll agree that the Avengers in Sara Cook's picture above are American.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASAMS

https://www.armyrecognition.com/norw..._12712158.html
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 14:02
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[QUOTE=Airbubba;10627643]Are you sure? Are you talking about the NASAMS in the Tyler Rogoway article? I'll agree that the Avengers in Sara Cook's picture above are American.

OTE]

Yes, please see your Wiki page (the board will not let me post a URL due to my infrequent posts):

"Description (NASAMS)

The system integrates US-built MPQ-64 Sentinel air defense radar and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles with an indigenously developed Battle Management C4I system called FDC, short for Fire Distribution Center. The FDC connected to a MPQ-64 radar forms an "Acquisition Radar and Control System" (ARCS) "
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 23:36
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Originally Posted by EPHD75 View Post
Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
Are you sure? Are you talking about the NASAMS in the Tyler Rogoway article? I'll agree that the Avengers in Sara Cook's picture above are American.
Yes, please see your Wiki page (the board will not let me post a URL due to my infrequent posts):
Thanks.

Here's an update on the alert from Tyler Rogoway at TheDrive.com

Here Is What Really Happened With That Mysterious Washington D.C. Air Defense Scare

There have been confusing reports of mysterious blobs in the sky and mistaken birds flocks. This is exactly what was detected and what wasn't and why.

BY TYLER ROGOWAY
NOVEMBER 29, 2019

At around 8:30am on November 26th, what appeared to be a potential violation of the tightly controlled airspace ringing Washington D.C. occurred, sparking off a course of events that drew national attention. The White House and the Capitol went into lockdown as a Coast Guard MH-65, callsign Blackjack, scrambled to intercept the possible intruder and F-16s were sent to runway alert at Andrews AFB, prepared to rocket into the sky if needed at a moment's notice. Confusion followed as to what exactly was detected and why. Now, according to officials with direct knowledge of the events, here is what actually occurred.

Before we begin, one must understand that the Washington D.C. Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is a chunk of airspace that rings the Capital. From its center, the Special Flight Rules Area reaches out roughly 30 miles in any direction, with the Flight Restriction Zone being a bubble within the ADIZ with a radius of roughly half that distance. The ADIZ is supported by a large number of highly networked, but disparate sensors, including various radars, electro-optical and infrared cameras, and other passive sensors to closely surveil the skies in the area for potential threats. And yes, it is backed up by
medium-range NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems scattered around the region, as well as Avenger short-range missile systems near key locales. Beyond that, MH-65 Dolphin helicopters at Reagan National Airport stand alert to intercept any slow-moving targets, while F-16Cs do the same at Andrews Air Force Base for faster-moving ones.

30 miles may sound like a lot, but it is anything but. A subsonic jet traveling at cruise speed can cross that distance in less than four minutes. A single-engine light plane can do it in less than fifteen minutes. If the threat, such as a drone, pops up deep inside the airspace already, these times get cut down to nothing. The missiles are there, in part, because it may be impossible to get an F-16 or MH-65 in the air fast enough to deal with a hostile actor. So, air defenders that are tasked with this incredibly challenging mission work in seconds and single miles when it comes to reaction and decision-making times.
This is a tough business with the highest stakes imaginable.

On top of this, the system has been upgraded in recent years in key areas to be able to detect small radar cross-section and slow-moving targets that are out of the detection capabilities of more traditional radar systems. Once again, all these sources are networked to improve target processing fidelity, reduce the chance for horrific mistakes, and to give operators and commanders the best information possible in the least amount of time.

Our sources tell us that although it is not uncommon for birds to be the cause of false alerts multiple times a month around this time a year, the issue that occurred on the 26th was a radar anomaly that was compounded by human error. One of the radars that feeds data into the integrated air defense system created what is called a "mirror track" of an innocuous and in-contact airplane whose transponder was squawking that it was under visual flight rules (VFR). Because it was a mirror track of just the transponder, there is no primary radar return where the mirror track was, the system pointed it out immediately and started automatically pointing electro-optical camera systems at it to validate the return and to identify what it actually was.

Apparently, the D.C. area's integrated air surveillance system is good enough that transponder tracks alone, where the radar doesn't also have a corresponding hard radar return, nearly never occur. But in this case, it was an anomaly happening within the radar system, not the result of lack of radar coverage or fidelity.

When the cameras pointed at the mirror track's location, they saw a real plane that was located roughly along the same azimuth as the mirror track. The issue is that since cameras cannot quantify range, it validated that something was there, but in reality, that plane was not at the range the radar showed the mirror track to be, it was much farther away. In other words, if a plane was actually where the mirror track should have been, the cameras would have seen two airplanes, not just one. As a result of this confusion, more cameras started being pointed at the target automatically.

At this time, the mirror track faded away, so the cameras had no automated radar data left to point to. Human operators took over and they started manually scanning the area for something that wasn't there anymore. There have been reports of ‘blobs’ being seen by the air defense system operators during this instance. Our sources made it clear that this is anything but uncommon as looking into the sky with long focal length cameras results in blobs, especially when scattered clouds are present. There is simply nothing substantial or defining to look at.

The entire detection period of the mirror track only lasted a number of seconds before the radar picture returned to normal. Those directly operating the radar system knew close to immediately it was just a glitch/anomaly, but by this time, other operators were looking everywhere on camera for anything they can find, and the incident was escalating up the command and control ladder. As such, the powers that be didn't want to discount the situation too quickly. Remember, there is literally no margin for error when it comes to countering a real threat and the nature of potential threats Washington D.C. air defenders could face
has evolved dramatically recently. What could look like a flock of birds could end up being something far more nefarious in the years to come.

So, once the wheels were in motion, it was really too late to stop them. This included downstream impacts like locking down high-risk targets around the Mall. But that isn't such a bad thing as this was about making absolutely sure nothing was in the airspace that was a threat, not about having a quick trigger finger. The exact opposite actually.

It's also worth noting that the sensors and support systems that enable the air defense mission around DC are very capable, and continue to get upgraded, but like any complex system of system, some parts remain a bit behind in terms of cutting-edge technology. The system will only get better with time, and in the end, people have to interpret the information and make the best calls they can. Considering the firepower at their disposal within a dense urban area, they have done a good job over the years at making sure nobody gets hurt because of inevitable imperfections in mechanical systems and the software they run on.

This should be the final takeaway, no matter how advanced a mechanical system or the larger architecture it is embedded with may be, it has the potential to be imperfect. Humans build these systems and write the code for their software and we are fallible. Above all else, aerial surveillance and air defense is far
from a perfect science as we have pointed out time and time again. The average person's perception of it being significantly otherwise is so far outside the realm of reality that it is quite frustrating at times. In the end, it comes down to the training and expertise of those who operate these systems and who would be forced to make very tough calls in very short amounts of time as a result of the data they provide.

So, while the mechanical system failed momentarily in a minor way, the overall human system prevailed where it mattered most.


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...-defense-scare
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