Suspend of Disbelief

I am sure plenty of bloggers will be doing the same complaining about now, just like me, but here is my 2 cents about tonight’s 24 episode.

Spoiler below! Don’t click on the link if you have not watched tonight episode yet.

So the Air Force One was shot down by a F-117A Nighthawk Stealth ‘Fighter’, flew by a terrorist/ex-Air Force pilot. Let me name just a few improbables with this plot:

1. F-117A is not a ‘fighter’, despite its name. It is a bomber and hence carries no air-to-air armaments.

2. Assume that this particular F-117A has been ‘upgraded’ to have the capability to launch air-to-air missiles, it can’t be using radar guided missile because in doing so will require the fighter to emit radio energy to acquire Air Force One as the target. Ok, one can also assume that a synthetic aperture radar has been fitted to the fighter and thus minimise the energy emission. But to achieve a fire solution lock using SAR will be difficult. So a infra-red missile such as the AIM-9X Sidewinder, possibly with helmet-mounted targeting, it must be.

3. Again, assuming #2 is true, Air Force One (and its escort fighters) is equipped with very sophisticated sensors and counter measures against missile attack. The distinctive energy signature of a missile launch will no doubt trigger the counter measure and flares will be launched to confuse the missile guidance. Evasive manoeuvres will also be taken to try to shake off the missile. Not to mention the possibility of one of the fighter escort flying in front of the missile to either break its lock from Air Force One, or just plain ‘take one for the team’.

But since this is just a TV show, let us all suspend our disbelief and continue watching the series.

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