Report Says Missile Defense Test Failed Because Sailor Pushed The Wrong Button

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Winston

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Not a great career move... but perhaps they should make the controls more idiot proof and/or improve training?:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...failed-because-sailor-pushed-the-wrong-button

A high profile and high stakes test of Raytheon's new SM-3 Block IIA interceptor and the Aegis Combat System against an intermediate range ballistic missile failed last June. The misfire occurred not because a high-tech sensor broke down or the missile's infrared hit-to-kill vehicle got confused, but because someone pushed the wrong button.

According to Defense News, the test's failure occurred because a sailor in charge of tactical data links inside the Combat Information Center aboard the USS John Paul Jones—the Navy's ballistic missile defense test ship—pressed a button that resulted in the command self-destruct of the experimental missile as it was hurtling towards its target. The button in question is used to designate incoming targets as hostile or friendly. The sailor supposedly pushed "friendly" by accident which resulted in a data-link transmission to the missile to end its intercept immediately. It did just that by blowing itself to smithereens.


 

neil_w

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My own speculation based on limited info: it sounds like a major UI conundrum. You want it to be easy to self destruct the missile if you discover the target is friendly, because you presumably don't have a lot of time to think about it or take any complicated action. At the same time, you don't want it to be so easy to do accidentally. As such it'd probably be unfair to really blame the sailor; it's more likely a good thing that an operational problem was revealed so it can be addressed.
 

PropellantHead

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Probably the easiest thing to do is physically separate the buttons and assign 1 sailor each to a button.

"Sailor Bob - if it's friendly, hit this button, otherwise do nothing."

"Sailor Steve - If it's not a friendly, hit this button, otherwise do nothing."

This way you take any decision or perception issues away from the button pusher(s).
 

modeltrains

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Well, they successfully demonstrated that system works.
 

modeltrains

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Played in Google looking for info on the thing, I hadn't been following the news.
This author has a point, do ya expect something was learned :facepalm: about that user interface mentioned. :D
"During ballistic-missile tests, we need to push the performance envelope of the system. This means that the tests are more likely to fail. And it’s ok. Design a test so that you can’t fail, and you’re bound to “win,” but you’ll also learn nothing (and waste millions of dollars in process). The ultimate metrics of a successful test should be whether and how much we have learned."
"American Missile Defense: Why Failure IS an Option Jul 17th, 2014, 3 min read "
https://www.heritage.org/defense/commentary/american-missile-defense-why-failure-option

But, yeah, it needs to be designed to be foolproof while twenty-three things are happening at once and your ship is on fire and you really really really need to go take a leak.

However, most of those successes came during laboratory test conditions, and not during the chaos of an actual conflict - so the problem of user error may be worth taking into serious consideration.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4728680/Defense-test-failed-sailor-pushed-wrong-button.html
 

modeltrains

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How about this ides - at opposite ends of the panel have a big rotary switch with the knobs stamped with the first letter of friend or foe.
Uhh, wait a minute ...
Or perhaps have one knob blank and one labeled A for attacker.
Or would t be A for American, or allied?
Or maybe they could be one red and one green - red for stop, it's ours and green for go, it's not ours.
Or should that be red because it's dangerous since it's not ours, and green because it is safe since it is ours?
Yeah, I guess user interface design matters.
A lot.
 

shreadvector

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[video=youtube;qjGRySVyTDk]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjGRySVyTDk[/video]
 

MClark

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"If he fires one, I'll fire one." "Fire one!"

[video]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eOll3v55Dmo[/video]
 

georgegassaway

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But, yeah, it needs to be designed to be foolproof while twenty-three things are happening at once and your ship is on fire and you really really really need to go take a leak.
Hey, prioritize, maximize use of resources, and MULTI-task.

Ergo:

Aim at the fire while taking a leak..... :)
 

cerving

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Label the buttons like this... Self-destruct: US flag. Target: North Korean flag. That oughta do it...
 
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