Mil News 'System error' link to RAF deaths


Mi General
MI.Net Member
Feb 29, 2004
Failure of a vital electronic system on both an RAF Tornado and a US missile battery contributed to a fatal "friendly fire" incident in Iraq.
Tornado crew Flt Lt Kevin Main and Flt Lt David Williams were killed when the Patriot missile downed their aircraft.

Electronics which identified the Tornado GR4, based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, as "friendly" had failed, an RAF board of inquiry has found.

The missile battery then misidentified the plane as an enemy rocket.

In a written ministerial statement, defence minister Ivor Caplin said there were several contributory factors to the accident in March 2003.

These included the failure of the Tornado's "identification friend or foe" (IFF) system.

Other factors included the "wide classification criteria" for anti-radiation missiles programmed into the Patriot system.

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This is only hearsay - but I heard from a local RAF source that two nights after that incident, a returning USAF F-15E or F-16C was painted and locked on by the same Patrior battery's radar, and despite correct IFF codes and radio contact would not break contact. Aparently a HARM missile was launched and the radar destroyed! :lol:

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