Did the Pentagon have air defenses on 9/11?

BombDr

Senior Member.
Astonoshing coincidences occur all the time. How did the hi-jackers know that the air defences over the Pentagon would be deactivated that day, due to the multiple anti terror drills that were going on at the time?

Please explain more about the Pentagon Air Defences, what they consisted of and how they were deactivated.

I know a bit about Air Defences so am really interested how it would work in the middle of a city, accross the river from an airport.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
Please explain more about the Pentagon Air Defences, what they consisted of and how they were deactivated.

I know a bit about Air Defences so am really interested how it would work in the middle of a city, accross the river from an airport.

Everyone knows that. It is the system where at the press of a button shutters go down, the Pentagon is lowered below ground and number of towers are raised up bristling with Phalanx and Stinger ready to shoot down anything over a densely populated area.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Everyone knows that. It is the system where at the press of a button shutters go down, the Pentagon is lowered below ground and number of towers are raised up bristling with Phalanx and Stinger ready to shoot down anything over a densely populated area.

Dave, don't spoil it. I waiting for a sincerely believed CT concept of missile batteries 1000m from Reagan Airport, not to mention both Andrews and Dulles in the flight line.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
I was only semi joking. I may be wrong but at the time was it not Avenger for close distance and Patriot for long distance the systems used by the US? I just like the idea that the Pentagon can have a specific air space within a built up area, and as you say on top of an airport. But these systems have a tendency to stand out a little bit and I suspect may get noticed by people.
 

Oxymoron

Banned
Banned
Dave, don't spoil it. I waiting for a sincerely believed CT concept of missile batteries 1000m from Reagan Airport, not to mention both Andrews and Dulles in the flight line.

"Uh uh, well Virgil, all systems are go". "The Brits have certainly taken our advice on this one. Hell they even have fighter planes as well, whatever next. Shame those usually paranoid Neocons ignored our warnings before 9/11 and stood everything down". "Guess they won't be needing our assistance Virgil, Mr Tracy will be relieved, the Hood won't stand a chance"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/olympics-air-defence-plan-given-goahead-7906083.html

Surface-to-air defence systems will be deployed at six sites in and around London during the 2012 Olympic Games, the Government confirmed today.
They are pressing ahead with the deployment in the face of a potential legal challenge from east London residents who do not want the systems pitched on the roof of their tower block home.
The ground-based air defence systems will be in place by mid-July.
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-RAF-Northolt-Olympics-military-build-up.html

Defending the Olympics from terror attack: Fighter planes at Northolt for first time since WWII as elite RAF say they will shoot down passenger jets to protect London

Content from External Source
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
I was only semi joking. I may be wrong but at the time was it not Avenger for close distance and Patriot for long distance the systems used by the US? I just like the idea that the Pentagon can have a specific air space within a built up area, and as you say on top of an airport. But these systems have a tendency to stand out a little bit and I suspect may get noticed by people.

The actual missile type is not the problem. The problem is target discrimination and who manages the ROZ (restricted operating zone) stack and their ROE. Lets not forget of course these things are hardly discreet, their their requirement to have a clear view of - you know - the sky...
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
"Uh uh, well Virgil, all systems are go". "The Brits have certainly taken our advice on this one. Hell they even have fighter planes as well, whatever next. Shame those usually paranoid Neocons ignored our warnings before 9/11 and stood everything down". "Guess they won't be needing our assistance Virgil, Mr Tracy will be relieved, the Hood won't stand a chance"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/olympics-air-defence-plan-given-goahead-7906083.html

Surface-to-air defence systems will be deployed at six sites in and around London during the 2012 Olympic Games, the Government confirmed today.
They are pressing ahead with the deployment in the face of a potential legal challenge from east London residents who do not want the systems pitched on the roof of their tower block home.
The ground-based air defence systems will be in place by mid-July.
Content from External Source
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-RAF-Northolt-Olympics-military-build-up.html

Defending the Olympics from terror attack: Fighter planes at Northolt for first time since WWII as elite RAF say they will shoot down passenger jets to protect London

Content from External Source

Hilarious. Where and what type of batteries where in Washington DC on 911?
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Mick, thanks for moving this to its own discussion. Ill ask some USAF blokes I know to get an answer on the Air Defences around DC. Obviously some people wil not trust the answer, but as far as I know, the air defences was entirely interceptor aircraft only, and facing an external threat.

More to follow I guess...
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
Mick, thanks for moving this to its own discussion. Ill ask some USAF blokes I know to get an answer on the Air Defences around DC. Obviously some people wil not trust the answer, but as far as I know, the air defences was entirely interceptor aircraft only, and facing an external threat.

More to follow I guess...

I've always understood the difficulties of air defenses at the pentagon were largely this:

image.png

Target discrimination at the end of an airport runway would be an untenable problem for something like a phalanx CIWS, and simply an incredibly fraught one for systems that aren't semi-autonomous.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
It's very important not to look at an event in hindsight when judging the decisions made during it. Prior to 9/11, every hijacked airliner ever had either been held for ransom, used to reach a destination other than its intended one, or in a few cases directly robbed itself and then released.

The wholesale killing of passengers and crew was rare, destruction of the aircraft unheard of, much less destruction of the aircraft by flying it into a building. No airliner had ever hit a large building, intentionally or otherwise.

Unprecedented events always look very, very different from the other side. Just because unprecedented action could have stopped the event doesn't mean the nature of the event was clear in time to take that action. Especially considering that unprecedented action would have meant killing US citizens in domestic air space over populated cities.

The irony here being, had they stopped the attacks by taking that unprecedented action, they've also made it much harder to prove the event was unprecedented and called for such a response. Again, applying hindsight to the opposite outcome will just create an equal-but-opposite conspiracy theory when by immediate appearances the Pentagon responded to a hostage situation by blowing up the victims.
 

econ41

Senior Member
It's been some years since I thought through and commented on this matter - the consideration of "shoot down" options - BUT I recall two big issues:
1) The time lines don't work out esp the time frame between "recognition that this was a changed game" and "last possible time to shoot";THEN
2) The risk management doesn't add up in favour of "shoot down" - even if risk was assessed purely on the simplistic "lives lost either way" - ignoring political reality. Both internal to US and the international ramifications from both friends and foes of the US.

Plus - as Hevach says - it has to be in prospect NOT hindsight. I would be surprised if the possibility had not been game planned but maybe put quite low on the probability scale. Even that would be grist to the CT's mill and AFAIK no such planning has "leaked". ;)
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
It's very important not to look at an event in hindsight when judging the decisions made during it. Prior to 9/11, every hijacked airliner ever had either been held for ransom, used to reach a destination other than its intended one, or in a few cases directly robbed itself and then released.

.....

Very true. Prior to 9/11 cockpit security was a joke on every airline except El Al.

Cockpit doors had a simple standard lock that anyone in the airline industry would know how to open. The door itself could be kicked in if necessary.

Hijacking procedures were to follow directions from the hijackers and wait it out. This was universal.

US air defences on the day were caught up in inertia and a scenario no one had seriously contemplated. I believe there were less than 15 air defence fighters on readiness, covering the entire country.

I watch the entire morning unfold and had no idea what would happen next. Pretty much everyone in power at the time would have been in the same boat.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...8cddbc-d8ce-11e0-9dca-a4d231dfde50_story.html

A relevant story on the state of DC's air defense (not just the Pentagon's) before and on 9/11. A major consideration that I didn't think of when this was first posted: The US has never been threatened from the air, and very few countries even have the ability to do so because of the US's naval dominance. Our defenses were based around a direct, large-scale assault by a major world power and an internal attack utilizing a civilian aircraft was so far outside the rules of engagement nobody could even figure out what to do in the short window of opportunity. So, again, unprecedented events look very different from the other side.


But the surprise was complete. In the monumental confusion of those first hours, it was impossible to get clear orders. Nothing was ready. The jets were still equipped with dummy bullets from the training mission.

As remarkable as it seems now, there were no armed aircraft standing by and no system in place to scramble them over Washington. Before that morning, all eyes were looking outward, still scanning the old Cold War threat paths for planes and missiles coming over the polar ice cap.

Things are different today, Degnon says. At least two “hot-cocked” planes are ready at all times, their pilots never more than yards from the cockpit.

A third plane hit the Pentagon, and almost at once came word that a fourth plane could be on the way, maybe more. The jets would be armed within an hour, but somebody had to fly now, weapons or no weapons.
Content from External Source
The best plan was two pilots launching without orders or preflights and ramming Flight 93 before it got to Washington, and the whole reason for two pilots to do this instead of just one was because they weren't even sure where to hit an airliner.


“We don’t train to bring down airliners,” said Sasseville, now stationed at the Pentagon. “If you just hit the engine, it could still glide and you could guide it to a target. My thought was the cockpit or the wing.”

He also thought about his ejection seat. Would there be an instant just before impact?

“I was hoping to do both at the same time,” he says. “It probably wasn’t going to work, but that’s what I was hoping.”

Penney worried about missing the target if she tried to bail out.

“If you eject and your jet soars through without impact . . .” she trails off, the thought of failing more dreadful than the thought of dying.
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The neat thing about a lot of planes is they fly themselves better without a pilot than with (there are several examples of fighter planes breaking out of spins and heading off on autopilot after the panicked pilot ejected), so the result of ejecting could be the fighter plane heading off on its own and needing to be shot down later, with Flight 93 still heading to Washington (and now two helpless pilots forced to watch it go).
 
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TWCobra

Senior Member.
The neat thing about a lot of planes is they fly themselves better without a pilot than with (there are several examples of fighter planes breaking out of spins and heading off on autopilot after the panicked pilot ejected)

That's probably a quote that needs debunking... Happy to take it up o another thread...

(Pilots union local 502)
 

cloudspotter

Senior Member.
That's probably a quote that needs debunking... Happy to take it up o another thread...

(Pilots union local 502)


The incident started as a routine training flight. Colonel Nikolai Skuridin, the pilot, departed from the Soviet Bagicz Airbase near Kołobrzeg, Poland. During takeoff, the afterburner failed and the engine began losing power. At an altitude of 150 meters and descending, the pilot assumed he had a complete engine failure and ejected without incident. The engine had not failed completely, and the aircraft remained airborne, flying on autopilot in a westerly direction.[1][2] The unmanned aircraft left Polish airspace, crossing into the airspace of East Germany and then West Germany, where it was intercepted by a pair of U.S. Air Force F-15s of the 32d Tactical Fighter Squadron, of the United States Air Forces Europe, stationed at Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands.[3] As the MiG-23 crossed into Dutch airspace the F-15 pilots reported the plane having no pilot, radioing"There is definitely no pilot in the plane" and continuing the intercept into Belgian airspace. The escorting F-15s were instructed to down the plane over the North Sea. As the MiG ran out of fuel, it started a slow turn to the south. The French Air Force put armed Mirage fighters on readiness in case the MiG approached French territory. After flying over 900 km (560 mi) the MiG crashed into a house, killing a Belgian teenager.
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Poor kid! Seriously unlucky

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Belgian_MiG-23_crash
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Yeah, that's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of when I wrote that. Or the cornfield bomber, which broke out of a flat spin and made a survivable landing after the pilot ejected. Also, there was a case discussed here on Metabunk where the pilot of a small plane either died or fell unconscious and his plane flew from somewhere around Tennessee out into the Gulf of Mexico, overflew Cuba, and finally crashed when it ran out of fuel.

What I meant was the uncanny ability for planes to recover and keep flying after pilots have abandoned it, not that pilots are secondary or unnecessary or that I'd trust the plane itself to do anything except fly in a straight line until it can't anymore.
 

Davidb

New Member
Very true. Prior to 9/11 cockpit security was a joke on every airline except El Al.

Cockpit doors had a simple standard lock that anyone in the airline industry would know how to open. The door itself could be kicked in if necessary.

Hijacking procedures were to follow directions from the hijackers and wait it out. This was universal.

US air defences on the day were caught up in inertia and a scenario no one had seriously contemplated. I believe there were less than 15 air defence fighters on readiness, covering the entire country.

I watch the entire morning unfold and had no idea what would happen next. Pretty much everyone in power at the time would have been in the same boat.
i

if the flight deck doors were opened during flight, wouldn't that be recorded by the FDR? for both 77 and 93 have they ever been checked?
 
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WeedWhacker

Senior Member
if the flight deck doors were opened during flight, wouldn't that be recorded by the FDR? for both 77 and 93 have they ever been checked?

Back then? No.


Very true. Prior to 9/11 cockpit security was a joke on every airline except El Al.

Cockpit doors had a simple standard lock that anyone in the airline industry would know how to open. The door itself could be kicked in if necessary.


...yes, we were given keys that would work in ANY cockpit door, prior to
Semteber 11, 2001.

[ off topic text removed ]
 
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Davidb

New Member
Back then? No.





...yes, we were given keys that would work in ANY cockpit door, prior to
Semteber 11, 2001.

[ off topic text removed ]
Understood, I asked this question based on a lecture from Dennis Cimino, he seemed to know what he was talking baout
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
Understood, I asked this question based on a lecture from Dennis Cimino, he seemed to know what he was talking baout

The 757 in question had been retro-fitted with a FDR capable of recording the position but not the sensors required to register the door position.

The FDR readout showed that the door had not been opened at all in the previous 11 flights and 41 hours.

Detailed here. http://www.911myths.com/index.php?title=The_Cockpit_Door
 
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