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Cable 879: Honduran Government Reaffirms No-Shoot-Down Policy on Intercepted Civil Aircraft

Cable 879: Honduran Government Reaffirms No-Shoot-Down Policy on Intercepted Civil Aircraft

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Published by Andres
This is a 2004 US embassy report on a meeting between the US ambassador the Honduran Minister of Defense to discuss the procedures used by the Honduran Air Force in intercepting civil aircraft thought to be involved in drug smuggling.
This is a 2004 US embassy report on a meeting between the US ambassador the Honduran Minister of Defense to discuss the procedures used by the Honduran Air Force in intercepting civil aircraft thought to be involved in drug smuggling.

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Published by: Andres on Feb 26, 2012
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02/26/2012

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Wikileaks Note: The full text of this cable is notavailable.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 000209SUBJECT: MINISTER OF DEFENSE REITERATES NO SHOOT-DOWN POLICY AND SHARES AIR DEFENSE STANDARDOPERATING PROCEDURES
REF: A. TEGUCIGALPA 203B. TEGUCIGALPA 193C. STATE 15961D. TEGUCIGALPA 179Classified By: Ambassador Larry Palmer; Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)1. (C) SUMMARY: Minister of Defense (MOD)Frederico Breve delivered a document to theAmbassador on January 27 which explains theHonduran Air Force's (HAF) standard operatingprocedures for intercepting intruding civilaircraft violating Honduran airspace and the use oflive ammunition, including warning shots, againstsuspected narcotrafficking aircraft or othersuspect aircraft flying in Honduran airspace. TheGovernment of Honduras (GOH) also provided copiesof the incident reports for the 1/20 plane crash inthe department of Lempira. The MOD and the Chiefof the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated unequivocally,and in writing, that the GOH has a strict policy ofnot shooting down civil aircraft. Breve welcomedthe possible visit of a U.S. team to discuss air
 
interdiction policy issues. He stated forthrightlythat the GOH has nothing to hide in this case. ENDSUMMARY.2. (C) At a luncheon with the Ambassador onJanuary 27 Minister of Defense (MOD) FredericoBreve delivered a document to the Ambassador onJanuary 27 which explains the Honduran Air Force's(HAF) standard operating procedures forintercepting intruding civil aircraft violatingHonduran airspace and the rules of engagement forthe use of live ammunition, including warningshots, against suspected narcotrafficking aircraftor other suspect aircraft flying in Honduranairspace. The GOH had provided on January 26copies of the incident reports for the 1/20 planecrash in the department of Lempira, which will bereported septel. Breve presented the informationas a matter of fact and entertained follow-upquestions from the Ambassador, Deputy Chief ofMission, USMILGP Commander and Defense Attache.¶3. (C) The 2-page document, which is signed byGeneral Isaias Barahona, the Chief of the JointChiefs of Staff of the Honduran Armed Forces(HOAF), explains HAF air defense intercept policyand reiterates that the HAF has discarded anyprocedure which would result in the firing on acivil aircraft with the intention of shooting itdown. The document begins by explaining that theHAF uses the ICAO international procedures for theinterception of unidentified aircraft.(Independently, the HAF Command Staff provided theEmbassy with the specific pages from the ICAO AnnexA that they use to signal intruding aircraft in
 
Honduran airspace.) The document then adds that theHAF has established standard operating procedures(SOP) for this type of operation.¶4. (C) According to the document, the HAF SOPemploys a series of established tasks from itsFirst Air Defense Squadron's Normal Operations Planprior to a HAF aircraft intercepting anotheraircraft. In Chapter B--The Procedure forUnknown/Suspicious Aircraft, the SOP establishesthe following procedure (informal translation):¶A. In the case of having to detain or havinginformation about unknown/suspicious aircraft.The Watch Officer in the HAF Operations Center(aka COFAH) shall take the followingsteps:¶1. immediately shall inform the HAFGeneral Command, the Chief of the Air ForceStaff (aka JEMGA), and the Commander of theFirst Air Defense Squadron (aka PEDA),¶2. shall place on alert all air bases orthe air base on stand-by alert according toits role, and¶3. shall contact air control agenciesabout transiting aircraft and flight plansin order to obtain information about theaircraft.¶B. In the case of issuing orders from the HAFGeneral Command for the take-off ofinterceptors, all necessary coordination shall

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