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Air France plane intercepted by Indian Air Force after IFF error

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  • Air France plane intercepted by Indian Air Force after IFF error

    India scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet to intercept an Air France passenger plane after it failed to identify itself correctly, the Indian air force says.

    The Bangkok-bound flight from Paris had entered Indian airspace from Pakistan.

    The pilot had used the wrong Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) code, which allows ground radars to differentiate between friendly and enemy aircraft.

    ....cont../..
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8225639.stm

    That could have been a nasty ending had the mistake not been rectified in time.
    2005 - LBA-LHR-MAD-SCL (BMI/Iberia A319/A340)
    2006 - EZE-MAD-LHR-LBA (BMI/Iberia A319/A340)
    2007 - MAN-MBJ (Monarch B767)
    2008 - MAN-CDG-HKG/HKG-CDG-MAN (Air France B777)
    2008 - MAN-AMS-IAH/IAH-AMS-MAN (KLM B747 combi)

    30/31 Mar 2010 - MAN-AMS-SIN (KLM B737/B777)
    06 May 2010 - GOA-LGW-MAN (British Airways A320)

  • #2
    The BBC article alludes that Air France aircraft are carrying IFF, the military version of the SSR (Secondary Surveilllance Radar) transponder. I would be surprised if they are. The SSR transponder in a commercial airliner operates in the same frequency band as the IFF systems, 1030/1090 MHz. If interrogated they will (as a minimum) respond with the commercial flight# and altitude. They will not respond with military codes. It may be reasonable to believe that there was either a malfunction in the transponder, or the wrong or no flight# was programmed. Lucky passengers and crew, that the Indian pilot was not trigger happy..
    Does anyone have more facts around this event?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Passion for flying View Post
      If interrogated they will respond with the commercial flight#.
      No, it will respond with the code set in the transponder, whcih should be the last one assigned by the ATC, does not need to match the flight # (and usually it doesn't) and can be changed several times during the same flight by ATC request.

      --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
      --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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      • #4
        Oops!

        I'm not surprised this has happened, and I'm surprised it has taken this long.

        The Indian authorities are very sharp on these things, with multiple radio calls required to multiple stations to get clearance. You forget one of them, and you're likely to get a friendly reminder... keep forgetting and ultimately, a visit from a nice fighter pilot.

        No harm done!

        Comment


        • #5
          Interceptions like this happen all the time. It's a good training opportunity for both ground and aircrew to respond to "threats".

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          • #6
            There is either an surrender-happy French or curry-happy Indian joke in there somewhere, but I got nothing. Someone help me out, please.

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            • #7
              I've already had an anticipatory laugh, regardless of whether a joke emerges.

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              • #8
                Big mistake by the crew. I blame this one on them, not indian air force.

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                • #9
                  I will make a point not to fly over India in future. I don't like guns pointed at me.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gandalf123 View Post
                    I will make a point not to fly over India in future. I don't like guns pointed at me.
                    Hmm, won't be much flying for you then. Would also have happened over the US and probably over much of europe too. So you'll be taking the boat or the train to quite a few destinations won't you. The reason a fighter aircraft is sent up is that they have the performance to intercept and see what is going on. If, and only it is determined a 911 style attack is about to take place, or I'd guess if the aircraft were heading for a heavily populated area and the crew were not conscious would any order be considered to bring the airliner down (and it would not be just a single pilot's call). If there was a massive electrical problem, and the aircrew could not communicate - at least there would be another person with working radios nearby (fighter pilot) who could relay messages or assist with navigation etc.

                    I feel it's just the Indian authorities being responsible in their airspace - a good thing not a negative issue.

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