Yesterday's SharkBlog includes an interesting little item:
Buyer Beware: Marketplace Radio reported that the intelligence which may have betrayed Saddam's location was obtained by monitoring a "secure" radio system -- which the British sold Iraq several years ago, and which the coalition forces somehow had the ability to decrypt.
I like that "somehow". I've often wondered whether airplanes and other complex weapons systems sold to foreign countries have secret gadgets attached that could disable them if necessary. If not, they should. Suppose the U.S. sells a few dozen advanced fighter aircraft to, say, Egypt or Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. What happens if a revolution or coup d'état puts them in the wrong hands, as happened when the Shah of Iran was deposed? It would be nice to be able to send a coded radio signal that would permanently disable the weapons systems or even the whole airplane. Causing an airplane to crash in flight would be a bit severe, though it would preserve some deniability. Even triggering the ejection seat on command could injure innocent bystanders. But surely a tiny bomb designed to fry all the weapons-control circuits beyond any possibility of repair could be designed and tucked away inside some innocent-looking part. Of course, this method could only be used to disable an entire air force once, after which sales would plummet as word got around.
Can we do this? Have we? Have other manufacturers of sophisticated military hardware? I have no idea, but I certainly hope so.Posted by Dr. Weevil at April 09, 2003 11:05 PM