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U.S. Spy Plane Impersonates Malaysian Aircraft, Apparently to Fool China

sferrin

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It was in international airspace.
 

Josh_TN

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I have to agree that isn't a great idea, since it sets a bad precedent. Though it is better than running completely dark like the Russians often do. If it was giving off legit position and velocity information, at least ATC can properly direct traffic. As far as I know this is a very unusual move for the USAF; I wonder what prompted it.
 

Foo Fighter

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IMHO, anything you can do etc etc.
 

riggerrob

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Does not surprise me.
Do you remember when communists shot down a civilian airliner - near Korea - because they suspected that it was a USAF spy plane?
 

TomS

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It was in international airspace.
Yes, but it still likely violates some international agreements regarding air traffic control. And it creates a potential risk that some future real Malaysian airliner flying in or near Chinese airspace might be mistaken for a US reconnaissance aircraft, with unpredictable results. Thinking about KAL007, MH17, etc. Yes, clearly the PLAAF has a responsibility to positively ID any suspected intruder before taking dangerous measures, but why make it harder?

And it seems as though this spoofing is fairly easy to spot, as the Chinese have just shown. It doesn't even take a nation state to detect it. Today, private spotters are calling out other similar cases of ADS-B spoofing elsewhere as well.
 

yasotay

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This is as old as false flagging ships, which has been happening since people decided to put identification means on their boats. But agree with TomS that this is likely not as effective as it was before the Information Age.
 

TomcatViP

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The problem is ads-b presented as a substitute for civilian ATC. Not flying a sigint aircraft in international airspace... And being impaired by ninja moves from opponents airforce while refraining to take appropriate measures.
The message is clear, continue on this path and you'll have to ninja check every flying plane out there.
 

fredymac

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I wonder if they think this is a cheap way of avoiding "unprofessional" intercepts. They got caught this time but how many other times did they get away with it. 55 miles away from the mainland and flying parallel to the coast so it isn't a question of flying a provocative flight profile.
 

sferrin

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I wonder if they think this is a cheap way of avoiding "unprofessional" intercepts. They got caught this time but how many other times did they get away with it. 55 miles away from the mainland and flying parallel to the coast so it isn't a question of flying a provocative flight profile.
One other reason they might want to do it is the take might be better. China might not operate certain items if they know an RC-135 is waiting to listen.
 

Flyaway

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I wonder if they think this is a cheap way of avoiding "unprofessional" intercepts. They got caught this time but how many other times did they get away with it. 55 miles away from the mainland and flying parallel to the coast so it isn't a question of flying a provocative flight profile.
One other reason they might want to do it is the take might be better. China might not operate certain items if they know an RC-135 is waiting to listen.
But it didn’t work this time & this tweet may be a declaration of intent to indicate in future they will detect such activities.
 

sferrin

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I wonder if they think this is a cheap way of avoiding "unprofessional" intercepts. They got caught this time but how many other times did they get away with it. 55 miles away from the mainland and flying parallel to the coast so it isn't a question of flying a provocative flight profile.
One other reason they might want to do it is the take might be better. China might not operate certain items if they know an RC-135 is waiting to listen.
But it didn’t work this time & this tweet may be a declaration of intent to indicate in future they will detect such activities.
Doesn't mean it didn't work 400 times before.
 
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