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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turkey changing military software to allow it to fire at IDF?

From YNet:
Turkey has developed a new radar system for its US-made F-16 fighter jets that will allow them to fire at Israeli targets, Ankara's Star Gazete reported on Tuesday.

The new radar system – Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) – is a defensive command and control system developed by Turkey's Military Electronics Industry (ASELSAN) for the nation's air force and navy. It is slated to replace a similar US version which is in use today.

The US system is comprised of lists of "friends" and "foes." The system's settings are designed to prevent pilot error as well, to an extent, disabling the ability to fire at "friendly" targets even by mistake. The US system identified Israel as a 'friend,' thus preventing Turkish fighter jets from firing at them automatically.

The new system, however, allows Turkey control the "friend or foe" list independently.

The orders to modify the IFF system reportedly came directly from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office.

The Turkish IFF system is scheduled to be mounted on all Turkish fighter jets, military vessels and submarines in the near future.
There are two parts to this story that YNet is conflating: Turkey deciding to rewrite the software, and Turkey deciding to classify Israel as an enemy in the software.

As the original Star Gazete article indicates, the decision to rewrite the software occurred over two years ago - prior to the Mavi Marmara.

This post on Strategy Page indicates that Turkey's original decision to rewrite the software came after there were rumors that the US installed a kind of "kill switch" to disable the planes if Turkey should decide to use them in ways that are against US interests.

Whether the other part of the story is true, that Turkey is now programming these systems to consider Israel an enemy, it is possible - but, as with yesterday's news from Turkey about sending boats to the Mediterranean to confront Israel, it could be Turkish media whipping up an anti-Israel frenzy.

(h/t Joel)