Have any aircraft, military or civilian, ever been attacked by chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons?
Terrorist attacks and test firings included. Attacks on persons on-board the aircraft (rather than the aircraft itself) included.
Information security attacks on the aircraft itself (such as computer viruses) would also be of interest, although I'll exclude jamming of communications and sensors such as radar.
Sources I've already consulted:
- Airport and Aviation Security, Elias
- USACBRN School, Wikipedia
- The Jihadist CBRN Threat, Stratfor
- Flying High, Flying Safe, Wolff
- Practical Aviation Security, Price & Forrest
- Counterterrorism: A Reference Handbook, Steven & Gunaratna
Definition of 'chemical weapon': sure, explosives are made out of chemicals (as is everything else) but I'm talking about chemical weapons as defined by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons:
The term chemical weapon is applied to any toxic chemical or its precursor that can cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation through its chemical action. Munitions or other delivery devices designed to deliver chemical weapons, whether filled or unfilled, are also considered weapons themselves.
The toxic chemicals that have been used as chemical weapons, or have been developed for use as chemical weapons, can be categorised as choking, blister, blood, or nerve agents. The most well known agents are as follows: choking agents—chlorine and phosgene, blister agents (or vesicants)—mustard and lewisite, blood agents—hydrogen cyanide, nerve agents—sarin, soman, VX.
For 'radiological weapons', I'm not talking about visible electromagnetic radiation (light) or invisible electromagnetic radiation (radio etc) but rather radiological dispersion devices, defined by the US Department of Defence as:
any device, including any weapon or equipment, other than a nuclear explosive device, specifically designed to employ radioactive material by disseminating it to cause destruction, damage, or injury by means of the radiation produced by the decay of such material
Ford, J. (March 1998). Radiological Dispersion Devices: Assessing the transnational threat. National Defense University - Institute for National Strategic Studies - Strategic Forum, No. 136. as cited in Rickert, Paul R., "The Likely Effect of a Radiological Dispersion Device" (2005). Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 47.
'Biological weapons' as defined by the United Nations:
Biological weapons are complex systems that disseminate disease-causing organisms or toxins to harm or kill humans, animals or plants. They generally consist of two parts – a weaponized agent and a delivery mechanism. In addition to strategic or tactical military applications, biological weapons can be used for political assassinations, the infection of livestock or agricultural produce to cause food shortages and economic loss, the creation of environmental catastrophes, and the introduction of widespread illness, fear and mistrust among the public.
Almost any disease-causing organism (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, prions or rickettsiae) or toxin (poisons derived from animals, plants or microorganisms, or similar substances produced synthetically) can be used in biological weapons. The agents can be enhanced from their natural state to make them more suitable for mass production, storage, and dissemination as weapons. Historical biological weapons programs have included efforts to produce: aflatoxin; anthrax; botulinum toxin; foot-and-mouth disease; glanders; plague; Q fever; rice blast; ricin; Rocky Mountain spotted fever; smallpox; and tularaemia, among others.