How To Spend $110M in Seconds

[Content Warning: Crash, Personal injury not visible, F-35]

Looks like a bit too much downward momentum:

I like the way the fire is extinguished so quickly. There’s only one problem…

I’m not big on carrier operations but I believe this is sort of a normal failure mode for a carrier landing. The pilot has a ridiculously small window that they have to put the plane through, at a certain angle and speed. If one of those parameters are off, you just gave Neptune an F-35!

There’s another aspect of this that I find interesting. The F-35 crash on the British ship [stderr] video was also obtained in the same way: someone pointed a camera-phone at a security surveillance system, and instantly bypassed all of the access controls on the data. Back in the day when I first got involved in computer security, there were several large projects to produce “multiple level secure workstations” or “compartmented mode workstations” – the idea being that you could run a windowed operating environment yet still propagate data labels and access rules through the display system, so that it would be provably impossible to cut and paste video from one window to another. This was at a time when system administration was still an unsolved problem. Oh, wait, it’s still still an unsolved problem. Meanwhile, there was a new generation of security thinkers who came along and immediately said, “why are you bothering with this? I can just point a camera at the screen.” Massive amounts of money were spent on compartmented mode workstations and I do not believe anything useful was learned from the effort.

Anyway: “why bother to park it? I’ll just throw it overboard!”


  1. sonofrojblake says

    It’s entertaining that the people whose job it is to specify and design multi-billion dollar computerised systems didn’t foresee video recording systems so cheap and small they would become ubiquitous.

    Aside: I just started a new job. Part of the induction on day one included a slide about how it is verboten to take a phone, camera or any other image-making device onto the plant, partly for reasons of flammability risk, but also to protect intellectual property. Part of my briefing about one of the projects I’ll be taking on on day two included several photographs of the relevant area of the plant taken by my predecessor on the job. Well, OK then.

  2. DrVanNostrand says

    I like the F35 Content Warning. I guess wasteful defense spending can be very triggering.

  3. kestrel says

    Sorry, small correction:

    ” you just gave Neptune an(other) F-35!”

    Hope you don’t mind.

  4. lumipuna says

    Back in 2017, Finland was in the early stages of planning a purchase of some new fighter jets. Options from various countries/manufacturers were to be considered. Famously then, when president Sauli Niinistö made a courtesy visit to the White House, Donald Trump publicly and very pre-emptively congratulated him for “choosing to buy American F-35s”. It became a subject of jokes on Finnish media.

    Just recently, Finland did in fact settle on the F-35 option, though I don’t think Niinistö had much role part in it.

  5. says

    Just recently, Finland did in fact settle on the F-35 option

    I assume it’s going to have the NATO rails, i.e.: capable of delivering US nuclear weapons. The Russians will be so thrilled!

  6. says

    Denmark (which also invested in the F35, they’re currently training pilots) has officially opened up to the possibility of American troops stationed in mainland Denmark. This has never previously happened and is raising questions about whether the Americans will be allowed to bring nukes with them, since we’re officially an explicitly non-nuclear country (we have one research reactor, but that’s it) (and we did allow nukes in Greenland, leading to the Thule incident, but that doesn’t count because we hushed it up (until the lawsuit from the workers exposed to nuclear material without proper protection)) (and there were those nukes stationed in Germany, ready to be shipped to Denmark at a phone call’s notice, but they were secret too) (but totally non-nuclear, trust us).
    It’s a big deal in our little pond. That’s why I’ve been paying attention to the F35 since I learned that it could potentially carry nuclear payloads. The only thing that surprises me is that they’re this open about it. I guess our PM has learned her lesson from the last time she made a decision without proper legal basis.
    My friend is of the opinion that it’s about diplomatic signalling towards Russia, basically saying “back off, we’re serious”, but I wonder; once you have the framework, why only stay at the threat? Why not just place a few weapons anyway, just in case? This whole thing worries me. I’m not convinced that there are enough sensible people involved to avoid a war. Now I’m mostly wondering how bad it’s going to get.

  7. lumipuna says

    Regarding diplomatic signalling towards Russia, here in Finland that means loudly asserting the general right of small countries (such as ourselves) to join NATO if they so wish. Russia has been ambiguous on whether their opposition to NATO eastward expansion would also cover Sweden and Finland – obviously their main interest is in Ukraine and thereabouts. There’s been some hype lately of Finland “considering” NATO membership, though mainly we’re not very interested and are just trying to assert that our current and possible future decline to join NATO has nothing to do with appeasing Russia, thankyouverymuch.

    Regarding nuke rails, Finnish military equipment nowadays is said to be vaguely “NATO compatible”, just in case we decide to join the club. Though I had no idea you could use airplanes to deliver modern nukes.

  8. says

    B-61 low-drag bomb, variable yield h-bomb. 400kt.

    The trick is that if you have an f-16, -15, -22, -35 you can hang a b-61 and the control software can manage arming and releasing the thing. I believe the technique is called “fling bombing” – you fly at the target and, when you are quite a distance away, you nose up, release the bomb on an upward trajectory, then bank a hard 180 and you’re moving fast away from it when it goes off. It takes magic software to make it land in the right place.

    Lets all hope really hard that Joe Biden doesn’t decide to use his gerontocratic penis substitutes in Ukraine.

  9. says

    I take it the phone video was recorded at a navy facility and not on board the ship?

    Looks like the deck operations surveillance system. Where the video got to after that, who knows?
    Well, obviously, it got everywhere.

  10. says

    I find the question of camera resistant security interesting.
    I know next to nothing about it. but it feels like it should be technically feasible to interlace a video output such that a camera recording only gets static, but you would need to mandate companion software in every phone brought on board. At which point you might as well just have something that turns off a phone’s camera when it’s pointed at a screen.

  11. sonofrojblake says

    you would need to mandate companion software in every phone brought on board

    Or ban phones from being brought on board. I’m not allowed a phone in my place of work, unless it’s a company-supplied intrinsically-safe one. That’s not even for reasons of national security, it’s “only” because a civilian phone can act as a source of ignition to the flammable atmospheres I’m reasonably likely to encounter in a day, which could lead to me blowing something up, demolishing the factory and killing myself and others.

    Arguably the risk of having a loose, uncontrolled modern smartphone on an operational vessel of war is orders of magnitude higher. I simply don’t understand why forces don’t simply state, on enlistment, that if you’re ever caught with an unsanctioned smartphone or other civilian surveillance device (iPad etc.) you’ll be shot. That would sort it out pretty handily.

    The troops could still be allowed to have mobile phones, they’d just have to be the ones issued from stores. I mean, it’s not like they’re expected or allowed to bring their own rifles to work, is it?

    Actually, now I think about it – are they? No civilised, sensible country would allow it, but I don’t know about the US. Are grunts allowed to bring their own guns to work?

  12. says

    Or ban phones from being brought on board

    When I was a young pup, I went down to a meeting at NSA OPS2 and took my laptop in my shoulder bag. Because I was with some great big shots, nobody checked it and I was waved through security. When we stopped to debrief at a coffee shop afterward, I pulled out the laptop and everyone proceeded to shit themselves a brick.

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