NATO strike & date problem : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I just got my April 5 edition of Aviation Week & Space Technology. It contains a very interesting article by David Fulghum. He was allowed to ride along as an observer on a B-52 strike against Serbian targets. This was a flight of 2 aircraft. The main attack plane and a 'spare' in case of malfunction. The munition load was 8 internally held AGM-66C conventional cruise missiles. Anyway, I was reading along in this military tech article when I came across the following paragraph from page 30:

"As the time for missile launch neared, the crew had to wrestle with its own version of the Y2K problem. The date the missiles were to fire was different from the date the mission launched. The crew worried that the missiles' computers would become confused. A satcom call to the Calcm planning cell at Offutt put a missile specialist on the air and resolved the issue. At 4:10 a.m., date modifications were added to the missiles' computers."

I was astounded by this paragraph. First, it made it past the censor. Second, its the first operational date problem in an active weapon system that I know of being made public. Third, clearly some fix had to be made (maybe they just changed the date - who knows). As it turned out, the mission still had a problem. The first two missiles were fired sucessfully, but then something happened. Again, I quote-

"The second missile fired, but then fault lights appeared on the remaining six missiles. Their memories had failed, apparently due to a problem with the interface between the aircraft's computer and the missiles' computers. Now the backup aircraft had to respond immediately. The second bomber slid into position, locked in the coordinates of the six remaining targets and fired..."

The author revealed that no B-52 attack had successfully fired all 8 missiles. Furthermore, we are runing critically low on a number of precision guided munitions. He did not state whether the backup aircraft also re-programmed during the flight.

-- RD. ->H (, April 06, 1999


RD -

Do you think it's possible that the military has run contingencies on these possible malfunctions already in simulation or is it possible that these kinds of problems have already come up and the contingencies above were put in place after the failures?

Seems like a perfect example of the kind of speculation in the "use it or lose it" scenarios.

I wonder if there will be an emergency spending plan put into place for more modern, less y2k vulnerable cruise missles soon.

Mike ===============================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, April 06, 1999.


I suspect the geeks back at Offutt had already run a number of date simulations. That explains the speed with which they made the fix. Its hard to believe that a date "rollover" problem hadn't come up before because many B-52, B-1B, B-2 missions are often greater than 12 hours. Early A.M. missile launches are the norm.

-- RD. ->H (, April 06, 1999.

RD -

1. Hey it isn't known as "Air Leak" in the intel biz for nothing you know!

2. since the acft configurations would be nearly identical it would stand to reason that both acft would have followed the same procedures with regard to targetting, no?


-- Arlin H. Adams (, April 06, 1999.

Hi, this & more is talked about in the Cram-Filled INCREDIBLE Military Y2K Article on this thread:

Military Computer Numbers! + more ...

One of the most interesting Y2K articles ever to pass before my eyes ...

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx

-- Leska (, April 06, 1999.

The NY Times this morning, in an article on the shrinking air-launched cruise missile inventory, noted that getting these missiles back into production would take three years.

-- Tom Carey (, April 07, 1999.

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