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  1. #441
    The Insane Kellhound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessicka View Post
    I dunno man, announcing your positions like that to a recon/spotter drone seems like a bad idea. You’re doing it’s job for it.

    I may be sketchy on a compass call, but you seem pretty sketchy on how drones work.

    So to go back to the original question of whether they can be stopped with a simple RF jammer, the answer is not if it’s any more sophisticated than a £200 quadcopter, which is little more than a radio controlled aircraft. Once you give it autonomous control and pre-programmed commands, and actually have a drone, then the answer is probably no, and if it’s being operated in a way you can, are you sure you want to do that?

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    There’s no “they missed on purpose” idea. It’s a “they avoided killing anyone on purpose” idea.

    I mean, the whole concept of surgical strikes that take out assets with minimal casualties has supposedly been the American ideal since the first gulf war.

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    For me it’s kind of irrelevant whether they took out a few million dollars worth of Predators and Reapers with a few thousand dollars worth of ballistics they had gathering dust or not. They seem to have shown they are certainly capable of it.

    I think that was the point the more hawkish people want to miss.
    Actually, I have experience working as an avionics technician on a civilian turned military UAV. I also worked on military comm, nav, and EW systems. So, I am very familiar with every aspect of what we are discussing in an actual military setting.

    We have long known they had missiles capable of sub 50m CEP, but they were used against an undefended base and had a high failure rate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thekri View Post
    Nah, those were maintenance hangers for the helicopters you see on the flight line next to them. The Drone squadron would have its own hangers and flight line.

    Anyway, of the strikes we see in that picture, only the one on those hangers seems to be precise, and maybe the one on the ECP. Shooting ballistic missiles into hangers has a very good chance of killing someone, so the "Not aiming to kill people" doesn't really work. If you are trying to damage an airfield without killing people you hit the runways and taxiways, you don't hit buildings where people live and work.

    So either they were precise, and the US was very fortunate that our early warning system worked, and we got everyone in bunkers, or that particular shot was rather lucky. My guess is somewhere in the middle, that the missiles were accurate enough to hit the populated part of the base, but not accurate enough to hit specific buildings with any precision (Hence the 3, possibly 4 hits in the first picture that don't seem to have hit anything important).
    Actually, the sat photos show drones next to those hangers as well as helicopters. The lack of casualties can be attributed to the use of easily spotted SRBMs combined with the time of night (most maintenance takes place during the day). Too few misses to have been inaccurate missiles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessicka View Post
    You don't just slap them on auto-pilot until the fun happens?

    The drones I use have 3 flight modes, 'manual', which they're basically incapable of flight under, because they're in no way aerodynamic and a human simply doesn't have the fine control to make up for that. 'Assisted', which is what most off-the-shelf drones fly under, which is the fly-by-wire system where the computer does most of the work keeping it airborne, you just point it where you want it to go. Lastly there's automatic, where it just flies on the pre-programmed route (usually a grid pattern over a specified area), and carries out specified commands (take pictures typically, but it can also deposit a sensor payload for atmospheric or marine surveys).

    I had presumed military drones, given the 99% boredom factor of flying, would take full advantage of autonomous capabilities, while manual intervention would only be used for that 1%. "Piloting" the thing I use amounts to making sure it doesn't have a mid-air collision with an air ambulance.
    Most modern aircraft fly using the "assisted" model, and many have an "automatic" mode (autopilot). Military UAVs pretty much always have 1+ people watching them 100% of the time.
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  2. #442
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellhound View Post
    Most modern aircraft fly using the "assisted" model, and many have an "automatic" mode (autopilot). Military UAVs pretty much always have 1+ people watching them 100% of the time.
    Legally, I have to watch it 100% of the time. But it is literally just watching, I do have recourse to intervene, either to send it to an emergency rally point, make an emergency landing, or take control to move it to a safe position in the case of nearby low flying aircraft. Other than take-off, the whole flight plan is an automated pre-programmed routine from the point it's 30m off the ground, including landing. I am actually surprised more goes into it than that.

  3. #443
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessicka View Post
    Legally, I have to watch it 100% of the time. But it is literally just watching, I do have recourse to intervene, either to send it to an emergency rally point, make an emergency landing, or take control to move it to a safe position in the case of nearby low flying aircraft. Other than take-off, the whole flight plan is an automated pre-programmed routine from the point it's 30m off the ground, including landing. I am actually surprised more goes into it than that.
    The UAV I worked on always launched (catapult) and recovered (arresting wire) autonomously. Any UAV used for real time visual ISR is going to be actively controlled, predetermined flight paths are too constrained for that.

    Any UAV that has a good IMU and even a mediocre GPS can be made to navigate autonomously. Its the IMUs ability to correctly understand the UAV's orientation and the control software's ability to correct for changes that really allow autonomous flight (drones predate GPS by many years).
    Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
    “Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.”
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  4. #444
    I doubt war will occur.

    It's not in Trump's interest to start another Middle East war. I think he has the conviction to withstand accusations of "pussying out" if he were to not retaliate.

    Another boots on the ground war won't accomplish anything.

    More than likely, I see him either 1. withdrawing, and allowing Iran to fall from within (America's presence has allowed Iran to suppress rebellion in the name of defeating a greater foe. Without that threat, Iran's internal forces will eventually tear it apart, and America can come back later to mop up), or he will 2. decapitate Iran's leadership and key facilities with missile strikes.

    I think 1 is more likely but who knows.

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  5. #445
    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    I doubt war will occur.
    It's not in Trump's interest to start another Middle East war. I think he has the conviction to withstand accusations of "pussying out" if he were to not retaliate.
    Another boots on the ground war won't accomplish anything.
    More than likely, I see him either 1. withdrawing, and allowing Iran to fall from within (America's presence has allowed Iran to suppress rebellion in the name of defeating a greater foe. Without that threat, Iran's internal forces will eventually tear it apart, and America can come back later to mop up), or he will 2. decapitate Iran's leadership and key facilities with missile strikes.
    I think 1 is more likely but who knows.
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  6. #446
    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    I doubt war will occur..
    I think it's likely a war will happen, maybe not soon but eventually.
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  7. #447
    The Unstoppable Force Skroe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poe View Post
    I think it's likely a war will happen, maybe not soon but eventually.
    It will not.

    The US is predominantly focused on China and to a lesser degree Russia in the timeline of "eventually".

    Iran is a niche thing comparatively. Some people in the White House have wanted to pick a fight with Iran for some time, but the US defense and intelligence communities have hard pivoted to China.
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  8. #448
    Scarab Lord Thekri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skroe View Post
    It will not.

    The US is predominantly focused on China and to a lesser degree Russia in the timeline of "eventually".

    Iran is a niche thing comparatively. Some people in the White House have wanted to pick a fight with Iran for some time, but the US defense and intelligence communities have hard pivoted to China.
    Eh, wars have a habit of happening when nobody particularly wants one. I agree that the US does not want this war, and neither does Iran. However both are perfectly content with the current state of simmering conflict, and shit gets out of control sometimes. That strike earlier this week could have gone really bad really fast. We got lucky (In relation to the actual strike, the airliner loss was an unforeseen tragedy).

    One of the problems with your world view is that you pretend that everything goes the way decision makers and policy want. That national interest and cunning plans write the course of history. Reality is not so clean. The Army has a concept it calls "The Strategic Corporal", which is the idea that sometimes a single junior level person can make a decision that reverberates around the world, and shifts US policy. An example of this is when that navy boat crew wandered into Iranian waters a few years back. When tensions are as high as they are right now, all it takes is one idiot making a mistake. One ASM into an American naval vessel, with 30+ dead will send us to war. Or an American vessel sinking an Iranian one that was skirting the border.

    I agree with the principle, but you can't dismiss the unforeseen events. The ones we can't forecast that get people really riled up. America tends to go to war when it gets mad enough. Think about the way America was feeling on SEP 12, 2001. They were over the initial shock, and about 98% of the country was all on board with ripping someone's throat out.
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  9. #449
    The Unstoppable Force Skroe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thekri View Post
    Eh, wars have a habit of happening when nobody particularly wants one. I agree that the US does not want this war, and neither does Iran. However both are perfectly content with the current state of simmering conflict, and shit gets out of control sometimes. That strike earlier this week could have gone really bad really fast. We got lucky (In relation to the actual strike, the airliner loss was an unforeseen tragedy).

    One of the problems with your world view is that you pretend that everything goes the way decision makers and policy want. That national interest and cunning plans write the course of history. Reality is not so clean. The Army has a concept it calls "The Strategic Corporal", which is the idea that sometimes a single junior level person can make a decision that reverberates around the world, and shifts US policy. An example of this is when that navy boat crew wandered into Iranian waters a few years back. When tensions are as high as they are right now, all it takes is one idiot making a mistake. One ASM into an American naval vessel, with 30+ dead will send us to war. Or an American vessel sinking an Iranian one that was skirting the border.

    I agree with the principle, but you can't dismiss the unforeseen events. The ones we can't forecast that get people really riled up. America tends to go to war when it gets mad enough. Think about the way America was feeling on SEP 12, 2001. They were over the initial shock, and about 98% of the country was all on board with ripping someone's throat out.
    Oh I certainly understand that. Don't let my writing make you think differently. I was an adult (18 years old!) on 9/11, and I remember not just... what... five months before... there was the Hainan Island incident with China and the focus was on the then ominous specter of US-Chinese military competition. 9/11 changed all of our national priorities.

    I do think though in this case, the "burns" this country got from the Iraq War inhibit against a certain type of conflict. If a Silkworm missile or something somehow hit a US ship, do I think it would be Gulf War III? No. I think it would be, at the low end, Operation Praying Mantis. At the upper end, something akin to a somewhat larger version of Operation Allied Force. I think the risk of punitive military action against Iran is relatively high and "one major incident" away (and that incident almost certainly would have come if one of those missiles killed any US troops). I think the risk of regime change (besides attempted decapitation strikes) and an occupation are non existent.

    One thing if you could when reading my writing though is keep in mind the target audience. Many, many, many people here have only known the US to engage in major military conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The War on Terror is operations against whoever in the Middle East is what "war" looks like to them. There is, historically in their minds, World War II, Vietnam, and Modern Mid-East War. Simple, yes... and it keeps complicated, messy subject matter digestible to laymen.

    But one ting I've been trying to convey with the China-focus thing is the magnitude of the institutional shift. Not so that people start to see "Red China" as the enemy or something particular, but so that they can understand the context of why certain policy changes and budgetary changes occur. Something specific is guiding this from my angle. Being an adult on 9/11 meant that I've grown up with the Brushfire wars with a kind of historical appreciation that just as there was a day before 9/11 there will be a day after the Brushfire wars. And to that end, it never made sense to me why as the Wars were being fought, US policy makers - particularly Democrats - engaged in extremely shortsighted policy and budgetary choices that only served to hurt long term risk reduction... usually purposefully. Case in point, the years long campaign to cancel the F-22 at 187 aircraft, rather than buying 400 and retiring all the F-15Cs. They slammed the F-22 as troubled (it got fixed in a few years) and a relic of the Cold War that wasn't needed in the (and this is my favorite phrase) "Conflicts the US is likely to fight". Well turns out 10 years later, we're having to buy F-15EXs and F-15FXs because 40 year old F-15Cs are a maintenance nightmare and a legit F-22 successor is 15 years away minimum. SO it would have been nice to not have short sighted policy and bought all 400 of the F-22s while the production line existed. But then again, we lived in a time where people like Rudy Gulani called the War on Terror "World War III" for some damn reason.

    That's one example but my posting approach is meant to challenge the viewpoint that Middle Eastern conflicts are the focal point of US foreign policy and terrorism is the focal point of US security policy, when it's clearly become China and Russia (again) in the last few years, and, barring something unforseen, will be that way for years to come. And then when those pass decades down the line, it will be something else. History is always followed by more history. Between 1945 and 1975, the US went from focusing it principle security concerns first from Europe and the West Pacific, to Western Eurasia (first years of the Cold War) and Korea, to Vietnam, then to the Middle East. An educated, informed electorate I think needs to have the flexibility to go with these changes and recognize the US's security challenges are not static or localized to one part of the world. This will help them in understanding policy choices better. And praise smart ones and damn dumb ones.


    But as you said, the unexpected changes everything. North Korea making stupid choices would change everything too. The keyword, I think, is prudence.
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  10. #450
    Quote Originally Posted by Skroe View Post
    It will not.

    The US is predominantly focused on China and to a lesser degree Russia in the timeline of "eventually".

    Iran is a niche thing comparatively. Some people in the White House have wanted to pick a fight with Iran for some time, but the US defense and intelligence communities have hard pivoted to China.
    You seem pretty sure and confident. Remember a couple days ago when they struck the airbase in Iraq. If there was even a slight miscommunication causing a single American soldier to get killed, the outcome would have been much more severe.
    Last edited by Poe; 2020-01-11 at 12:58 AM.
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