Foreign Policy Blogging at OTB

by Dave Schuler on April 25, 2014

I’ve just published a foreign policy-related post at Outside the Beltway:

Aegis Jammed?

There’s a rumor going around Russian media and being repeated elsewhere that there was a bit more to the incident between a Russian jet and a U. S. naval vessel in the Black Sea the other day. The claim is that the Russian jet successfully jammed the vessel’s missile guidance system. Certainly interesting, if true.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

... April 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I tend towards skepticism. First, as pointed out in the comments at OTB, how would the Russian intelligence service, much less some lower-tier Russian military outlet, know that the screens went “blank”.

Second, how likely is this?

After the incident, the foreign media reported that “Donald Cook” was rushed into a port in Romania. There all the 27 members of the crew filed a letter of resignation. It seems that all 27 people have written that they are not going to risk their lives. This is indirectly confirmed by the Pentagon statement according to which the action demoralized the crew of the American ship.

All 27 members of the crew? The ship’s compliment is listed as

33 Officers
38 Chief Petty Officers
210 Enlisted Personnel

Granted, I’m taking that from Wikipedia, and I’m too lazy to look for primary sources, but that is a helluva lot closer to the correct sixe of the crew than 27. And I seriously doubt that this many would decide to resign immediately upon such an incident occurring, or even after considering it for a while. It’s not like the ship’s personnel aren’t aware that they’re in the immediate line of fire a good deal of the time.

Finally, there’s this bit:

US destroyer “Donald Cook” with cruise missiles “Tomahawk” entered the neutral waters of the Black Sea on April 10. The purpose was a demonstration of force and intimidation in connection with the position of Russia in Ukraine and Crimea. The appearance of American warships in these waters is in contradiction of the Montreux Convention about the nature and duration of stay in the Black Sea by the military ships of countries not washed by this sea.

First, one destroyer isn’t exactly going to intimidate the Russians in the Black Sea, and I’m pretty sure even our most idiotic and warlike government officials either realize this or were told this my someone.* So I discount that this is meant as a sign of intimidation or is intended as such.

Second, isn’t the Donald Cook there under the terms of the Montreux Convention? If so, aren’t the Turks in violation as much as the Americans?

Given the problems with the article, I’ve got to assume there’s far more fiction to the story than fact.

* I laugh at the idea of ships from the Russian Navy (meager as it is) docking in Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezeula being a matter of huge concern for the US military for similar reasons. Yes, please, geo-political rival, please place valuable resources you can’t afford to lose right next to our country, from which we will be able to destroy them with any number of continental US land-based weapons systems.

... April 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm

some lower-tier Russian military outlet

should read

some lower-tier Russian *NEWS* outlet

... April 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

And of course, the person to ask for an opinion HERE is Andy. Assuming that (a) he can tell us anything (I expect he can at lest discuss the Montreux Convention as he’s brought that up before, and before I had seen it referenced in any major news outlets for this crisis reporting cycle) and (b) would tell us the truth if he knew it!

(That last isn’t a complaint. He has at least one if not more oaths to consider.)

Andy April 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm

This story is BS. Even assuming the aircraft could jam the radar, there’s no way the Russians would know it, much less know details like the screen going blank (and even that detail is wrong – radar screens don’t go blank when jammed). Of course, none of the other details add up either, like Ice explained.

Guarneri April 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I heard Boris Badanov was piloting the plane, although Natasha Fatale was manning the joystick. Just say’n.

... April 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

I heard Boris Badanov was piloting the plane, although Natasha Fatale was manning the joystick. Just say’n.

LOL

... April 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I assumed “blank” meant “what the screens displayed stopped representing an accurate radar image of the covered environment”. It still doesn’t explain how the Russians would know that. Unless, as someone at OTB put it, it was the Russian mole that turned off the power strip!

All in all, this story is mostly fodder for internet jokes, I think.

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