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[Article]

The System That Brought Down Flight 655

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Zeroing in on a Pentagon boondoggle

“In the rush to judgment after the U.S. downing of Iran Air Flight 655, no guilty party was more carefully hidden in plain sight than Aegis, the high-tech radar system installed aboard the cruiser USS Vincennes. This most costly package of electronic complexity mistook an Airbus (length: 175 feet, 11 inches) for an F-14 (length: 62 feet, 8 inches), miscalculated the altitude of the plane by some 3,000 feet, and determined that the Airbus was descending when it was actually climbing (as can be gleaned from transcripts of radio calls between the jetliner and air controllers). So what is the problem with Aegis? As this letter displays, Aegis is simply the logical consequence of the present “defense” procurement system, dedicated to the simple principle: a bigger buck whatever the bang.”

[Annotation] | The System That Brought Down Flight 655, by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein

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September 1988