Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 8:38 AM
Subject: RE: candidate conversion incident...probably not
Sounds suspiciously like use of scalar interferometry to form "fake" targets.
A radar does not track a target; it tracks (hopefully) a signal reflected from that target or that location.
Given a signal coming from that location, radars will triangulate and show it as a "target".
No target is there, just a signal.
Natural interferometry in the earth sometimes does this in a fixed location. In the old Hawk system, after I had the Hawk Evaluation Team at McGregor range, my very best radar warrant officer went on site into a defense in the U.S. Strangely, there was a point in the sky adjacent to their defense, a point about15,000 feet high and out from their radars at some distance, from which a steady radar return could always be had, night and day, when illuminated by one of their radars.
The got an Army buddy in a small Army aircraft to assist, and tracking both him and the "target", they vectored him right through that point. Nothing at all (nothing material) was there.
So they just used that damn thing as a calibration point, to do range calibration of their radars.
We had a similar thing at McGregor Range, where an illuminating radar would "noise lock" on a geographical area. We would warn all training battalions we were administering firing test to, to ignore this "make and break locking" signal, as it was just some crazy geographical feature and not a real target.
One day, just for the hell of it, we vectored an Army chopper right onto the site and he landed on top of it. Again, nothing was there except desert sagebrush and cactus. But that damn noisy signal was there, day and night, and undoubtedly still is.
Then one day, with a unit ready to fire, I ordered the "Katy bird" (the aerial drone target which was circling outside the range and waiting) in for the firing run. It started in, and voila! Here comes another target, pretty as a picture, and catches up to the drone and is flying along beside it. I immediately called a "bogey on the range!) and ordered the Katy bird back into its off-range orbit. It peeled off and did so, but the target continued straight as an arrow toward our exact location. The big safety radar for the range was going crazy; he had nothing on his radar at all, but I had four radars -- two pulse acqs and two CW illuminators -- tracking that beast and reporting continuously, all in agreement.
So me and about 20 Warrants and technicians stepped out of our command area with our binoculars. The "track" passed directly over us, with at least 20 pairs of eyes scanning through binoculars. Nothing at all was to be seen. The track continued on a straight line right on off the range, eventually disappearing in the distance. We never found out what the devil that one was!
Anyway, there are some crazy things with radars, but these ghost targets being reported don't look like "false targets" due to slight radar malfunctions. Instead, they look very suspiciously like those same jokers engineering our weather just having an additional area of fun and games. Probably seeing what the error rate of the controllers are, and upping that until they get a mid-air collision or crash, etc.
I think I remember several previous "ghost targeting incidents" from a couple or three years ago, etc.