I marvel at how foreign buyers of something as complex as stealth aircraft can have any confidence that the system is not riddled with back doors, remote control capability, "phoning home", surveillance, and kill switches. How would you prove to a foreign buyer that your F-35 would not:
- upload all your secret flight data to a tire pressure monitor every time a maintenance worker checks the tires with the special gauge he has to use, which then retransmits the data when the gauge is put back in the hanger, without needing any cooperation from the maintenance worker
- cause all your F-35s to fall out of sky everywhere in the world when the GPS satellites transmit an extra 64-bit coded message that cause fuel actuators to shut off
- put your F-35 under remote control when a coded microwave message is transmitted directly to the plane during combat or a close encounter
Even children's toys and home appliances are routinely discovered to be phoning home and doing sneaky unexpected things. I'm going to hazard a guess that all large weapons systems are compromised —— perhaps by more than one nation simultaneously since parts and expertise come from hundreds of contractors and many different countries. I'm not aware of any revelations of weapon-system backdoors yet, but we might hear about some of them in the aftermath of the next major war.
All of which means that it's more or less impossible to buy a weapon from a foreign power without opening yourself up wide to that power. You have to let their military advisors onto your bases, to train your troops on the doctrines that go with the weapon. You have to let their logistical specialists into your inventory systems, so they can hook you into the pipelines through which the spare parts and ammo flow. Any of these people could be using their access to snoop on you or worse, but there's not much you can do about that because without them all you've bought is a $100 million paperweight.
If you're the buyer, yes, that absolutely sucks. But, unless you're willing to spend vast amounts of money you don't have to build up your own domestic military-industrial complex, you don't have a lot of alternatives. You either buy into one of the existing ecosystems (American, Russian, European or Chinese), or get curb-stomped by a neighbor who did. Once you're bought into one of those ecosystems you're effectively at the mercy of the state that operates it, of course, but hey, you do what you've gotta do. As the saying goes, the strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must.
It's pretty telling to see Germany refusing to buy F-35 or Hungary buying ones in order to piss off Sweden.
And if you're going to be training pilots... Shouldn't you do it on the exact config of F-35 that Denmark's buying? Which means a Danish F-35, which means leaving it in the US.
That aside, it's more or less common knowledge these days that the planes have not been delivered for all these years due to the production problems they are still having.
Esquire just did a piece just month mentioning that the plane starts to fall apart if it's flown too fast and the computer fails to detect if the plane is flying to fast about half the time.
This aircraft program still has a ways to go.
We don't know what the "training in the US" requirement looks like, though. I wouldn't be surprised if it was just "you need to use Danish planes to train" + "we only have training facilities in the US, and if you want to bring your own that'll cost money". It has nothing to do with "Denmark can't make its own decisions", because as far as I'm aware that hasn't been alleged anywhere.
Having a military costs money. Living up to treaty obligations like NATO costs money. Trying to have a military on the cheap just ends up with dead troops/pilots/sailors.
India also has lots of land.
For the F-35, other countries were asked to pay into the R&D budget, with the promise that large contributors could obtain exclusive manufacturing rights to certain components. I've seen a lot of grumbling about this, with people claiming it traded cost savings for a military risk that the planes will be useless (or at least lack spares) if things go wrong for those suppliers.
This is sort of true, but the missing insight is that the dependency is also a goal. It's not going to allay fears that F-35s are calling home with telemetry or have compromised software, but it does help create reciprocal interests in the same way as inviting in a foreign military base.
I think it extends the metaphor to NATO very well actually. A mutual-defense alliance gradually turned into a political and economic alliance, and now it's not clear how well the original proposition can be trusted. RAND, at least, thinks Estonia and Latvia can't be actively defended and couldn't be retaken without bombing campaigns in Russian territory. So suddenly, the strength (or at least universality) of that agreement becomes an open question.
I once heard unsourced speculation that the French might have given the British the scoop on how to sabotage incoming missiles.
One hit the HMS Sheffield, two hit the merchant ship Atlantic Conveyor, and one hit the destroyer HMS Glamorgan. So that's 4 of the 5.
I think they just ran out of missiles.
Edit: even if France supported the UK during the war, preventing the delivery of more exocet missiles and providing information on the missiles and airplanes to the UK.
Edit 2: Apparently it was an oversight, the French team in Argentina was never told to stop working. Also I guess the missile builder might have been happy to have a live fire demonstration of his products
To be fair, Israel also advised Argentina on air-to-sea surface attack tactics that proved to be seriously good.
There's no denying their effectiveness in this example, but then the context was the UK was fighting a conflict halfway across the world and without air superiority. Take away either of those elements and the Super Etendards were likely to have been obliterated long before their Exocets were within range.
Furthermore, waiting would have meant the islands would have entered Antartic winter shortly after invasion, giving them many months to dig in and prepare for UK Task Force landings.
There where probably career officers raising all the issues you did and more but it didn’t matter.
It’s interesting to speculate what thatcher would have done had the Argentines managed to sink enough ships to end the first Task Force, we where already fighting at our limits (which showed just how poor our equipment and spending was, lions lead by donkeys still applied), force project is hard, force projection for a 2nd rate power (if we class superpowers as 1st rate) at best is ridiculously hard.
AFTER the loss of sheffield, the policy was changed such that each class 42 was escorted by a class 22 (with sea wolfs).
The Argentian navy did hit Glamorgan with an exocet after that, but Glamorgan wasn't anywhere near anything with Sea Wolf defenses at the time.
The 'friendly' aspect is likely apocryphal, and possibly based on the fact that the Glamorgan and Antrim were both exocet missile destroyers themselves, and might thus have had issues with targetting a missile of the same type. But since neither of them had any point-defence systems it was moot.
edit: or it may be from the fact that Broadsword's sea wolf system 'locked up' during the sinking of Coventry, and was unable to attack the inbound A4s that bombed Coventry. But from what I can see, the prevailing belief was that it was unable to lock on for the same reason Sea Dart on Coventry wouldn't - it couldn't discriminate the A4s from the land behind them.
Joking aside, I would assume current IFF systems let you define anything not explicitly friendly as hostile - what with shifting alliances, armament development consolidation &c - the issue being how many backdoors there are. I take it as a given no US-made missile can kill a US-operated aircraft, regardless of what the operator of the missile desires. (Same goes for French, British, Russian &c)
I'm not so sure about that. That would require that all US made missiles have a "disarm" signal that the operators cannot override. Maybe for weapons we sell that is okay, but for our own use, that strikes me as too much of a liability if that signal ever gets compromised and spoofed.
Every single weapon can be turned on its maker, somehow. Else, its not an effective weapon.
Edit: Note that I’m working off of very old memories, and the 60 minutes reports may not have been accurate.
reminded by association - in the new Russian&Serbian movie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Balkan_Line released for the 20th anniversary of the war there is a scene with the French bomb dropped on a house in Serbia and which didn't explode because it was intentionally sabotaged. Doesn’t seem to have propaganda value, and I’m wondering whether it is a play on real facts or just an artistic reference to the French resistance to the NATO bombing of civilian targets.
How would you prove to a foreign buyer that your F-35 is not backdoored? You wouldn't. You sell them the plane and then they have the best cybersecurity experts the market can provide go into the hangar and completely tear the whole thing apart, inspecting every on board computer, dumping assembly code, inspecting circuit boards, etc. These are being bought by nation states, not Grandma who doesn't know her router has an admin interface with a default password.
Any attempt to backdoor that gets discovered would be an international incident and severely strain diplomatic relations between the U.S. and all of its allies. At the very least, anyone looking for nextgen fighters now would look somewhere else now knowing that we have no qualms with screwing with their defenses.
It's more like eventual own, depending on your time frame. If someone wants to to to lengths to physically secure something, it can probably withstand 1 seconds of intrusion time. It has closer to zero chance of withstanding 36000 seconds, and very close to zero chance of withstanding 360000 seconds.
> Harold: "Red! We found an old bomb in the lake! What do we do?!"
> Red: "Call the American Air Force."
> Harold: "We tried, but it's in the Canadian side of the lake, they can't help!"
> Red: "Then call the Canadian Air Force!"
> Harold: "It's after 5, he's gone home."
Germany was supposed to be a closed ally, but Merkel wasn't that happy when she realized that the USA is spying on her.
It looks like the governments are starting to be less friendly towards eachother as the currencies in the world are collapsing.
This is very close to a plot point from Battlestar galactica (2004). I don't know of a way off the top of my head to detect back doors other than manually reviewing code.
A large company which has a database of many back doors might be able to train an AI to find them. I'm going to guess that someone, somewhere is trying to do this, somehow.