>In order for the 15 Eurofighters to start, Austria's federal army paid 1.5 million euros over three years to a private US security company. Now, the costs for those two "civilians" stationed at the Zeltweg airbase have been confirmed, who have to allow every start with the current US-"Crypto-Keys" for navigation and friend or foe identification.
The ministry of defense denies that the two Americans from a not named US company are NSA contractors. They claim the jets would fly without the keys but without encrypted navigation and communication. He also mentions the same situation for Sweden and Switzerland.
The Austrian Eurofighters can fly and operate without those keys, they just won't be able to join NATO Link-16 networks or other encrypted NATO communications or navigation networks. This is standard practice for all modern combat aircraft, incidentally, as encryption keys are rotated on a regular basis and need to be loaded into the aircraft's onboard systems before flight. The data can also include additional interoperability elements such as TDMA slice allocations in the case of Link-16.
The reason it has to be done by the unnamed contractor is because Austria is not a member of NATO, so it can't be given control over key handling. The same is true for Sweden & Switzerland.
It's a logical tradeoff. Austria, Sweden, and Switzerland get access to encrypted NATO networks and can therefore interoperate seamlessly with NATO forces, but they're always free to opt-out. Sweden for instance has fall-backs to national data links and communications networks to which only it has the encryption keys.
FYI (other commenters) I wasn't doubting or implying access to secrecy.
Just impressed at the depth of knowledge that appears with high fequency on HN here.
That said, for the non-sensitive stuff, there's usually access out there because someone's posted it or it's been discussed in a presentation.
Reasons you would want such information controlled: if an adversary were to get in a shooting war with NATO, knowing the entire sequence required to launch fully operational aircraft makes interrupting that sequence much easier.
Read background, dissect, probe, attack.
"Austria declared 'its permanent neutrality of its own accord.' The second section of this law stated that 'in all future times Austria will not join any military alliances and will not permit the establishment of any foreign military bases on her territory.'"
No idea what is going on with Austria.
EDIT: Austria isn't a member of NATO.
You can’t have it both ways as in want to interoperate with NATO forces as well as being covered by NATO CAPs and not be a member of NATO.
I wonder how that works for software heavy war equipment, such as F-35. Does the seller provide full source code and control (and probably training?) over modification of the software? Do they agree on the paper only that the buyer can never get to use those weapons against the seller? Or, do they set those policies right inside the control units of those weapons?
If the seller country have significant control on the control units of the war instruments sold to another country, and if the seller country is able to update/modify/ control/restrict devices over the air, won't that make the buyer country just an outpost of the seller country?
No. That would entail rather complete political control. Not just control over certain parts of the buying country's equipment. Still, it is clearly in the interest of the buyer to want more control over the equipment they buy, especially on such a delicate matter.
DoD/DoE contractors and manufacturers retain a large portion of military contracted IP material. For example, CNWDI in the nuclear world does not allow a anyone in the military access/knowledge portions of bombs/warheads below the maintenance plates. Sandia/LLNL/LANL keeps a (literal) tight lid on that knowledge, much less the very physical appearance.
If the same schema were applied to airframes, it’s likely that Lockheed and NG retain rights to the manufacturers specific IP, which would include the source code to any avionics packages.
I couldn’t imagine a situation that would put Norway and the US on opposite sides. Since the military allows Norway to get F-35s they probably agree.
The actual motivation for Turkey to pick the S-400 was entirely political. They are signalling allegiance to Russia. The US is now cancelling Turkey's F-35 order in response.
Even if some missile tech were to be transferred (I rather doubt it), the key part of S-400 is not the missiles - but the very sophisticated radar, control and EW systems.
Either way, it doesn't get Turkey much ahead in designing their own missile defence system, and leaves them dependent on a potential (even likely) enemy.
Nondestructive remote command disablement (what you’re referring to) is probably a real thing. It would fit the same schema that other weapons systems already have (nuclear weapons, drones, satellites).
Kidding aside, the concerns over the possibility for such actions were the primary reasons why the Turkish public was totally O.K. with being expelled from the F-35 program.
Data should be under the control and scrutiny of the owner of the plane, who would pass on only what they are happy to.
On top of that, Norway has for at least a hundred years had very close ties to the USA due to emigration. Compare that to the rather lukewarm political help Norway got from Sweden during WWII (though their hands were obviously tied) and the strategically insignificant position they’re in to help in future conflicts, given that they are still outside the NATO—where Norway is of course heavily entrenched with their former P.M. Jens Stoltenberg as the current General Secretary. Thus it was an easy call to ditch Sweden’s JAS Gripen in favour of the F35, despite some issues with data transmissions.
While the JAS Gripen perhaps has similar capabilities to that of the F16—which is in fact a far superiour defensive dogfighter compared to the F35—the F35 is a better ground attack plane, and it has stealth.
Judging by Norway's likely adversary (Russia), in all likelihood the risks were judged to be small compared to the advantages of using the best available plane from a country (US) usually not in good terms with Russia.
We will be working with Sweden on it as well.
It was a stretch, and they made it work. But I don't think you'd call this a success. The Viggen was closer to that, and it was a 1960's design.
> to develop its own weapons and airplanes.
This can be read in two different ways I guess, and ccsalvesens reply is a valid reply to the way I'd read your post, -namely that "Norway can neither make their own weapons nor their own planes".
You seem to have meant that Norway cannot develop both weapons && planes, true?
Just trying to clear out the source of the misunderstanding here.
In the first Gulf War happened and the British forces deployed in regular temperate camo. Everyone assumed it was because the supply chain was incompetent but the real story was it was too risky to fight in the same kit as the Republican Guard!
Do you have details/links about that.
I dunno how unique that chance is any more. The whole world runs so on hardware made in China which could be compromised to do pretty much anything.
> “Norway has entered into a partnership with Italy to jointly finance the procurement and operation of a laboratory where we can enter nationally sensitive data, as we currently do on F-16,” Gjemble said.
Having dealt with the output of the part of Lockheed that makes logistical software, I say run for the hills.
Norway (and all of Europe) has outsourced much of its collective defense to the United States, so if Norway and the Europeans are comfortable with the entire US military apparatus protecting them, it is quite surprising that Norway would have a problem with something as comparatively insignificant as flight data being sent back to Lockheed.
In fact, given the protective relationship the US has with Europe, wouldn't Norway want to provide as much data as possible to help improve Lockheed's technology and hence the West's future defensive capabilities?
This isn't your thermostat sending temperature data to the manufacturer, it's a war plane sending critical information that the owner of the plane wants to keep secret.
I imagine this is the general practice to make sure your own tech is not used against you. I am also not surprised that some people find it perfectly acceptable when coming from one side, and unacceptable when coming from another.
Reminds me of this: https://pics.onsizzle.com/nationalis-our-blessed-homeland-th...
In fact, Norway (and all of Europe) has outsourced much of its collective defense to the United States, so if Norway and the Europeans are comfortable with the entire US military apparatus protecting them, it is quite surprising that Norway would have a problem with something as comparatively insignificant as flight data being sent back to Lockheed.
Given the article, I'd say that we know the answer to this and it is something of a resounding 'no' -
"Norway says it has become impatient with continued delays in the promised provision of a data “filter” by Lockheed Martin. So it’s started its own project to find ways to block its new F-35s from reporting back to their former US masters.
It’s also worried that it won’t be able to optimize — or protect — the extremely sensitive Mission Data Files. These data packs optimize aircraft performance under different conditions, as well as provide a database of regional challenges and conditions.
Again, Norway wants Lockheed Martin out of the loop."
And yet Norway wants to retain control over that data. Are you saying this should be overridden? Outsourcing doesn't imply handing over everything to the party providing the service. If India starts taking sensitive Boeing data is it ok because Boeing outsourced the coding of critical components there?
> Europeans are comfortable with the entire US military apparatus protecting them
Yes. But it's not kindness, it's business and it doesn't come for free. They'll keep doing it to keep said Europeans from finding other allies. So they can have a military presence close to their enemy. So they have a witness when WMD or dictators need a democracy treatment.
> wouldn't Norway want to
Norway and US are allies that’s how Norway is comfortable to host most of its government data on AWS for instance, or to use US made products everywhere. But for obvious reasons there is always a limit when it comes to sensitive data.
I’m sure they do all sorts of intelligent cooperation and data sharing on demand. But we are talking about military and this is not on demand data sharing.
Do you expect US military to accept sharing the same type of data back to its allies for the same reasons? Norway’s military is simply asking for a way to filter these data.
There are data that they never want to share (e.g. secret missions), and there are sensitive data that they want to always filter.