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I remember the incident. I don't think anyone ever came up with a plausible theory of why it happened other than the pilot F'dU.
 

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Hopefully, our newer technology will help prevent something like that happening again.
 

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What should the ship's commander have done? Do the rules of engagement allow engaging the unidentified aircraft before it has launched a missle?
 

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They already had Mirage F1's
My inference (which could be wrong) was that they wanted to make a "stealth" fighter that would look like a commercial or private jet for recon purposes--if caught where they shouldn't be, they could pretend to be an innocent, harmless non-military aircraft that was just off course. Then they decided to put missiles on it, too.
 

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They already had Mirage F1's
I imagine the sneaky little bastards were planning to use it under cover of it being a commercial jet.


Sort of like a Trojan Falcon.
 
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I had a friend from boy scouts that was on the ship that day. Had he been in his rack he most likely would have been killed by the missile that did not explode.
He was a hull tech and his division's efforts probably made the difference between sailing and swimming that day.
 

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Whether the launch platform was a modified business jet or not isn't the issue with the Stark.

The missile system on the Stark could have handled the Exocet. I was THIRDFLTs rep to the Pacific Missile Test Center 82-85 and a ship of the same class took down a Vandal. Vandal was a converted Talos SAM which dove toward the ships at a 45 or 60degree angle at mach 2.5 and had a small radar cross section.

The frigate shot it down.

The problem with the Stark is that their behavior suggests that they weren't in at least Condition 3 steaming, three section watch in CIC and probably port and starboard in the missile radar room. They didn't even fire a shot, not the missiles or the CIWS. CIWS could have handled the Exocet as well. That too was demonstrated.

Rules of engagement mean nothing when the ship's safety is at stake, the CO has a duty to defend the ship. There should have been a qualified TAO (Tactical Action Officer) on duty in CIC at all times. What is unique about the TAO qualification, which normally requires a specific course of study, is that unless overridden by the CO, he/she has weapons release authority. Don
 

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What movie is this clip from?
" The Bedford Incident "; Widmark, Poitier, James MacArthur. I read the novel and thought it was an excellent movie. Not the same ending as the novel though; a minor change.

From IMDB;

Storyline
Richard Widmark plays a hardened cold-warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. Sidney Poitier is a reporter given permission to interview the captain during a routine patrol. Poitier gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub in the depths and the captain begins a relentless pursuit, pushing his crew to the breaking point. This one's grim tension to the end


https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058962/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
 

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Interesting but the type of aircraft made no difference in the attack. The Stark identified it as a Mirage anyway. What is bad is that the ship failed to detect the missiles. I hope things have improved.
 
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Whether the launch platform was a modified business jet or not isn't the issue with the Stark.

The missile system on the Stark could have handled the Exocet. I was THIRDFLTs rep to the Pacific Missile Test Center 82-85 and a ship of the same class took down a Vandal. Vandal was a converted Talos SAM which dove toward the ships at a 45 or 60degree angle at mach 2.5 and had a small radar cross section.

The frigate shot it down.

The problem with the Stark is that their behavior suggests that they weren't in at least Condition 3 steaming, three section watch in CIC and probably port and starboard in the missile radar room. They didn't even fire a shot, not the missiles or the CIWS. CIWS could have handled the Exocet as well. That too was demonstrated.

Rules of engagement mean nothing when the ship's safety is at stake, the CO has a duty to defend the ship. There should have been a qualified TAO (Tactical Action Officer) on duty in CIC at all times. What is unique about the TAO qualification, which normally requires a specific course of study, is that unless overridden by the CO, he/she has weapons release authority. Don
Thanks for sharing your experience, I always appreciate hearing from people with specific knowledge about the systems in use.

My understanding (just from things I've read) is that the Exocet missile is sea-skimming and doesn't turn on its homing radar until it's very close to the target, so that radar and ESM are unlikely to even know it's there until it's way too late, doubly so if they're not already in missile-defense mode.

If you have any thoughts that you can safely share about that process, I'd be curious to learn more... it seems clear that as you say, the Standard missile launcher or CIWS had enough capability to handle the Exocets in theory, but obviously only when being actively employed.

Like with the Iranian gun/missile boats that hassle our ships, I just have no idea how any captain is supposed to manage the difference between bad guys locking you up with fire-control radar for ****s and giggles, and the day they actually toss a couple anti-ship missiles your way?
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience, I always appreciate hearing from people with specific knowledge about the systems in use.

My understanding (just from things I've read) is that the Exocet missile is sea-skimming and doesn't turn on its homing radar until it's very close to the target, so that radar and ESM are unlikely to even know it's there until it's way too late, doubly so if they're not already in missile-defense mode.

If you have any thoughts that you can safely share about that process, I'd be curious to learn more... it seems clear that as you say, the Standard missile launcher or CIWS had enough capability to handle the Exocets in theory, but obviously only when being actively employed.

Like with the Iranian gun/missile boats that hassle our ships, I just have no idea how any captain is supposed to manage the difference between bad guys locking you up with fire-control radar for ****s and giggles, and the day they actually toss a couple anti-ship missiles your way?
I think you're quite correct on the Exocet profile.

I think the CIWS can be on an auto condition where it will engage anything meeting certain parameters w/o specific intervention by the crew.

I guess it's been so long that I guess no one cares but when I was at the THIRDFLT job, the Navy was directed by Congress to redo some of the CIWS testing. We (by "we" I didn't mean me, such things were well above my paygrade) got the Brits to launch an Exocet at a target replicating a typical combatant. The target had an operational CIWS on board. Shot the Exocet down. French were mightily pissed off and worried that the Brits would let us analyze the missile.

The Wikipedia article I read said the Stark's air search radar failed to detect the Exocet which surprises me, wonder if it wasn't operating up to par? They also had SRBOC (Super Rapid Bloming Offboard Chaff) which could decoy the Exocet that they apparently didn't use.

Again old history but I was the weapons officer on a missile ship during Silver Fox ops in the Black Sea. Enforcing freedom of navigation but the Soviets really resented it. They flew Backfire bombers carrying nuclear capable ASMs on board which could radiate their guidance radar when on the bombers wing. We watched them continually and when they turned the missile radar on, we locked them up with our missile radar. We could have detected separation of the missile from the bomber. We had missiles in the missile house ready to go onto the launcher rails in a matter of seconds. Don
 
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