United States forces at Guantanamo Bay on Monday shot down a French A400M military transport plane as it breached the station’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) without responding to radio calls, a source in General Eric M. Smith’s office told Real Raw News.
The A400M is like the American C-130 in that it is quad-turbo aircraft capable of carrying many troops or military hardware. Designed by Airbus Military, the A400M is a tactical airlifter sized between the C-130 and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III; it can carry heavier loads than the C-130 and can use rough landing strips.
At 2:00 p.m., air traffic controllers at Leeward Point Airfield and radar operators aboard an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer assigned to protect Guantanamo Bay detected an unknown aircraft 50 miles south of the base. They were at first unable to determine the bogey’s altitude and airspeed, meaning the pilots had disabled the plane’s transponder and ADS-B, electronic devices that produce a response when they receive a radio-frequency interrogation. ADS-B is a technology by which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation or other sensors and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.
ATC and the destroyer, however, quickly determined the bogey’s point of origin; it had taken off from Mariscal Sucre Airport, a military and civilian airfield in the Aragua state of Venezuela.
“A commercial flight wouldn’t disable its electronics. And the odds of both a transponder and ADS-B breaking simultaneously are infinitesimally small. It was very suspicious and brought back memories of the Christmas Day assault on GITMO,” our source said.
GITMO went to battle stations as the plane crossed a 25-mile threshold, and the destroyer’s captain ordered his weapon officer to ready the vessel’s complement of RIM-66 surface-to-air missiles for a possible engagement.
When the bogey penetrated a 20-mile boundary, the Arleigh Burke’s crew somehow determined it was an A400M flying at 250 knots and an altitude of 2500’, well below established commercial flight paths.
The decision to fire on the encroaching plane ultimately fell on Brigadier General Lance A. Okamura, GITMO’s highest-ranking officer in charge of military operations. He instructed the Arleigh Burke’s commander officer to shoot down the A400M. Seconds later, a single missile struck the plane’s fuselage. A crimson fireball illuminated the sky as debris rained on the Caribbean Sea.
The destroyer at once moved at flank speed toward the debris field and deployed an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter to survey the area before its arrival. The chopper reported seeing seat cushions, body parts, and bodies floating amid an emerging oil slick.