: What I want to know is, how many missiles around the world are at risk
: of being set off when their operators "brush the lift-off button by
: mistake"? Not to mention the risk to nearby civilian aircraft!
Well, I do know that during the build-up to the Gulf War a USMC Hawk
battery accidentally launched a missile at a Bahrainian(?) F-16 (I
know this because a buddy of mine was personally involved.).
As I remember his story (I might have a technical detail screwed up,
but the basis is correct)....
Seems that they were doing some training excercises. During said drills,
the missile launchers were to be disconnected from the control van and
some sort of "dummy box" or something hooked up in their place (So that
the control van "thinks" the launchers are there, etc.).
So, they sit in their control van. Find a suitable incoming target and
hit the fire button.
Unfortunately, somebody forgot to disconnect one of the launchers.
Fortunately, the Hawk has a FTD and the mistake was realized the instant
they heard the loud roar :).
Personal appologies to a certain pilot soon followed.
Missile Performance Office (Code 476H00D)
Naval Air Warfare Center - Weapons Division
China Lake, CA 93555