Wait, How Did a Russian Spy Ship Tip Off a U.S. Missile Test? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Wait, How Did a Russian Spy Ship Tip Off a U.S. Missile Test?

  • Observers spotted a Russian Navy spy ship loitering off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.
  • Within days, the Department of Defense announced a ballistic missile intercept test had failed.
  • The Russians were likely alerted to the upcoming test by notices announcing closed air and sea space.
  • Last week, a Russian intelligence collection ship parked just outside U.S. waters was actually there to record data on an upcoming U.S. missile test, according to a new report.

    One possibility is espionage. During the Cold War, Soviet spy ships were eerily good at predicting upcoming secret missile tests. But in this case, the more likely explanation is Russia carefully read Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and Notice to Mariners (NOMAR/HYDROPAC) bulletins.

    Most countries issue warnings of closed air and sea space in and around exercises, weapons tests, and other military-related activities. This prevents civilian aircraft and ships from blundering into these activities, with a worst case scenario being an airliner struck by a missile. Even North Korea issues NOTAMs.