Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Commander of United States Air Forces in the Pacific, acknowledged a significant increase in the activities by Russian long-range strategic aircraft flying along the California coast.
There was no comment about whether the aircraft were nuclear capable, but it has not been since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s that Russian patrols have skirted the West Coast and California.
Other than fleets of Russian bombers making passes in close proximity to U.S. interests, the military hasn’t reported anything else out of the ordinary.
But last week something weird happened in Los Angeles and it likely involved a high altitude fly over.
Air traffic controllers at Los Angeles LAX airport reported that their computer systems were overwhelmed and crashed, leading to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations across the country. According to an NBC News investigation the outage was caused by the flyover of a U-2 spy plane. Apparently the 1950′s class spy plane entered LAX airspace at about 60,000 feet and its jamming systems crashed not only the primary air traffic control systems used to monitor and direct commercial airlines, but the back up systems as well.
A U-2 spy plane is being blamed for a software glitch at a Californian air traffic control center which led to delays earlier this week.
According to NBC News, the U-2 was flying at 60,000 feet, but air traffic control computers were attempting to keep it from colliding with planes that were actually miles beneath it.
The computers at the L.A. Center are programmed to keep commercial airliners and other aircraft from colliding with each other.
The spy plane’s altitude and route apparently overloaded a computer system called ERAM, which generates display data for air-traffic controllers. Back-up computer systems also failed
But within days of the original report, disseminated across broadcast networks all over America, the Air Force officially denied that it was a U-2 spy plane, claiming they found the glitch but provided no reason for what caused it:
It’s still not clear why the U-2 flew into the L.A. Center’s airspace, or why it didn’t give advance warning of the flight, as per usual. According to NBC News, the nearby Edwards Air Force Base and NASA’s Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center (located at Edwards) “have been known to host U-2s.”
But an Edwards rep said no such planes are assigned to Edwards, and a NASA rep said that none of their U-2 planes were flying on Wednesday.
The U.S. Air Force, on the other hand, confirmed that it had sent out a U-2 plane that day — but denied to that the spy plane caused the airport confusion. The Air Force Times has more:
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren confirmed that there was a U-2 operating in the area. The Air Force “filed all the proper flight plan paperwork … in accordance with all FAA regulations” and was conducting a routine training operation, Warren said. The FAA has issued a statement saying technicians have “resolved the specific issue that triggered the problem,” but the agency did not say what the problem was. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown declined to comment about whether the U-2 was connected to the computer problems at the control center.
With the revelation this week that Russia has deployed strategic bomber fleets for fly-by’s along our West Coast to gather intelligence and test their capabilities, is it possible that someone flipped a switch to see what would happen?
The Air Force likely knows what caused the outage but refuses to share details, which suggests that either the United States was engaged in a military exercise and they want to keep it under wraps, or, it was the Russians and going public could further inflame the already heated geo-political climate.
Both the United States and Russia have advanced stealth and jamming systems, either of which may have been responsible for the LAX outage. But one particular technology stands out, especially considering that Airforce technicians had to step in to resolve the issue.
The United States, Russia and China have been testing non-nuclear capable electro-magnetic pulse technology that can be deployed either via a missile or a attached to an airplane while it travels in proximity to a particular target. Unlike the nuclear-trigger Super EMP Weapons capable of taking down the electrical infrastructure of an entire country if detonated about 200 miles above the earth’s surface, non-nuclear EMP technology is a line-of-sight weapon that can be directed at a specific city, building or computer system.
In the United States a similar weapon is called CHAMP (High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project ) and is manufactured by Boeing.
We hit every target we wanted to. We prosecuted everyone. Today we made science fiction into science fact.
We took out everything.
Granted, no missile was detected over the United States within the time frame that LAX computers were taken out of service, it’s important to keep in mind that CHAMP, while advanced, is known to everyone and the technology is already at least half a decade old.
It’s certainly possible, and probably likely, that Russia has similar technologies and ones that do not necessarily require a missile to deliver its “payload.”
With bombers flying right along our coast, did Russia take the opportunity to utilize a new advanced technology to target specific components of the air traffic control system, sending it into a frenzy?