Claim that the Nimitz FLIR1 object could not be a plane because it would have been Identified

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTUX5tgU5xo


He sums up the argument as:
This all hinges on one very important assumption, "6) FLIR was not a lucky catch. It was slaved to the radar." The problem I have with this is that the radar was not working - in that it was unable to lock onto the object, and was giving very inconsistent numbers for it. How then was it able to point the ATFLIR with 100% accuracy in the right direction, within 1% horizontally and vertically?

It it was an F-18, then obviously it would have been on the datalink. But the question that might invalidate all the other points is: was the return on Underwood's radar that he was trying to lock onto (and, it is claimed, designated as a target) the same thing that showed up on the ATFLIR. Because if it wasn't, then the other six points are moot.

The key argument in more depth:
Again though, this all hinges on one very simple assumption, stated here as:

"This means that the FLIR was looking at the object because the radar was, even though Underwood couldn't get a lock that doesn't mean that can't be passively designated as a priority. "

And how does that work? The FLIR needs an instant handover of heading and vertical angle. If the radar is being actively jammed, then where are those two numbers coming from, and how is it known they are accurate?

Underwood stated (Corbell, 7:46)
So we simultaneously have a radar that being jammed and giving all kinds of strange numbers, and you can't even get the airspeed, but is also able to hand over the exact position to the ATFLIR? It does not make sense.
 
Last edited:

jarlrmai

Active Member
Might be time to get that DCS F/18 module now the ATFLIR pod is out, it might not be able to emulate the glare and IR effects but it's lock and slave modes should be fairly accurate. Of course using a simulator will likely be dismissed out of hand but it's the best we can do short of getting our own F/18.
 

Alphadunk

New Member
Question, if the FLIR is slaved to the radar can it only track a target that is also being tracked by the radar or can the pilot specify an independent target even while operating in slave mode?
 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't underwood say he never visually saw the Tic Tac as it was too far away, and that he only saw it on his F-18's screens (TV mode and IR mode)?

If that's true, it would indicate he located it and locked on it via radar. At least long enough to get the initial lock on it
 

JMartJr

Active Member
Does it create confusion for anybody else when the Flir1 target is referred to as "the Tic Tac?" Would it help to avoid confusion if we didnt do that, but restricted "the Tic Tac" to Fravor's sighting? There is already such massive confusion between the Flir1/Go Fast/Gimbal vids and Fravor's Tic Tac sighting, due to extremely sloppy reporting in the Mainstream Media and among YouTubers, I think it is more than usually important to be careful not to add to that.
 

food-creature

New Member
Does it create confusion for anybody else when the Flir1 target is referred to as "the Tic Tac?"
I don't like the term in general because it implies that we know what the object's shape is

Might be time to get that DCS F/18 module now the ATFLIR pod is out, it might not be able to emulate the glare and IR effects but it's lock and slave modes should be fairly accurate. Of course using a simulator will likely be dismissed out of hand but it's the best we can do short of getting our own F/18.
Well, the claims in the OP video should be dismissed too in that case. Anyway, here's this video from a DCS dev (?) demoing the ATFLIR and even after watching part of this video it seems like there's some inconsistency with the OP about the lock/slave modes. I watched the part at the end about the air-to-air mode which looks the most like what we see in the navy videos. He makes it pretty clear that a target can be FLIR tracked without a radar lock, or it can be slaved to a radar locked target, or both simultaneously.

Timestamped to the air-to-air part:
Source: https://youtu.be/kGQYBpXqfMU?t=542


When it's in slaved mode, one of the options next to SLAVE appears boxed/highlighted on the FLIR display.
On the left is what it looks like when he slaves it to track a radar locked target, on the right is after he opts to:
initiate a FLIR track - and there it is. So now both the radar and the FLIR are tracking the same target
flir1.PNGflir2.PNG

The bars after he does the FLIR track are familiar. But in the navy videos, nothing on the right is boxed/highlighted, which if I'm getting this right means it isn't slaved. This seems consistent with this (kind of obtuse) documentation page for what I think is a different simulation company's FLIR:
https://forums.vrsimulations.com/su...ing_Infrared_(FLIR)#A.2FA_FLIR_Pointing_Modes
When the FLIR is in the L&S Slave Mode, the L+S option at [PB12] on the A/A FLIR format is boxed, and the MC slaves the FLIR LOS to the MSI L&S target's LOS. If the MSI L&S does not exist then the default LOS is to the aircraft boresight (L&S remains boxed). If the L&S designation is stepped to a different MSI trackfile via the Radar Attack or Az/El formats, the FLIR is slaved to the new L&S LOS. With TDC priority to the FLIR format, TDC slewing will initiate Inertial LOS mode and unbox the L&S option.


So the Navy videos don't actually look like they're slaved to a radar locked target at any point, not unless two simulations are inaccurate in the same way. Granted I don't actually have this simulation software and I'm not familiar with it, so I could be wrong.
 

jarlrmai

Active Member
I don't like the term in general because it implies that we know what the object's shape is


Well, the claims in the OP video should be dismissed too in that case. Anyway, here's this video from a DCS dev (?) demoing the ATFLIR and even after watching part of this video it seems like there's some inconsistency with the OP about the lock/slave modes. I watched the part at the end about the air-to-air mode which looks the most like what we see in the navy videos. He makes it pretty clear that a target can be FLIR tracked without a radar lock, or it can be slaved to a radar locked target, or both simultaneously.

Timestamped to the air-to-air part:
Source: https://youtu.be/kGQYBpXqfMU?t=542


When it's in slaved mode, one of the options next to SLAVE appears boxed/highlighted on the FLIR display.
On the left is what it looks like when he slaves it to track a radar locked target, on the right is after he opts to:

flir1.PNGflir2.PNG

The bars after he does the FLIR track are familiar. But in the navy videos, nothing on the right is boxed/highlighted, which if I'm getting this right means it isn't slaved. This seems consistent with this (kind of obtuse) documentation page for what I think is a different simulation company's FLIR:
https://forums.vrsimulations.com/su...ing_Infrared_(FLIR)#A.2FA_FLIR_Pointing_Modes



So the Navy videos don't actually look like they're slaved to a radar locked target at any point, not unless two simulations are inaccurate in the same way. Granted I don't actually have this simulation software and I'm not familiar with it, so I could be wrong.
This is pretty much what I thought based on watching the same video, thanks for summing up so well.
 

JFDee

Senior Member.
Does it create confusion for anybody else when the Flir1 target is referred to as "the Tic Tac?"

Underwood claimed that it was him who coined the term in the first place. The others must have adopted it immediately.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/201...o-q-and-a-with-navy-pilot-chad-underwood.html

The problem is indeed that the usage of the term in both events suggests that the object in the video and the object in Fravor's encounter were identical, while there is no good indication that this is the case.
 

gtoffo

Member
I don't like the term in general because it implies that we know what the object's shape is


Well, the claims in the OP video should be dismissed too in that case. Anyway, here's this video from a DCS dev (?) demoing the ATFLIR and even after watching part of this video it seems like there's some inconsistency with the OP about the lock/slave modes. I watched the part at the end about the air-to-air mode which looks the most like what we see in the navy videos. He makes it pretty clear that a target can be FLIR tracked without a radar lock, or it can be slaved to a radar locked target, or both simultaneously.

Timestamped to the air-to-air part:
Source: https://youtu.be/kGQYBpXqfMU?t=542


When it's in slaved mode, one of the options next to SLAVE appears boxed/highlighted on the FLIR display.
On the left is what it looks like when he slaves it to track a radar locked target, on the right is after he opts to:

flir1.PNGflir2.PNG

The bars after he does the FLIR track are familiar. But in the navy videos, nothing on the right is boxed/highlighted, which if I'm getting this right means it isn't slaved. This seems consistent with this (kind of obtuse) documentation page for what I think is a different simulation company's FLIR:
https://forums.vrsimulations.com/su...ing_Infrared_(FLIR)#A.2FA_FLIR_Pointing_Modes



So the Navy videos don't actually look like they're slaved to a radar locked target at any point, not unless two simulations are inaccurate in the same way. Granted I don't actually have this simulation software and I'm not familiar with it, so I could be wrong.
Those simulations are not able to reproduce all of ATFLIR's functionalities.

For example if you watch the "GOFAST" video you will clearly see another way of tracking an object that the pilots refer to as "autotrack" which is not available on DCS as far as I can tell.

In the FLIR video we don't see how the target was acquired initially. It just starts from an arbitrary point in time. We don't know what happened before.

Here is the description of the intercept from the executive report: https://cropper.watch.aetnd.com/cdn...REPORT_1526682843046_42960218_ver1.0-copy.pdf


Screen Shot 2021-05-05 at 23.30.49.png
It states clearly initial awareness came from the radar.

This is confirmed by underwood in the interview with the NY MAG https://nymag.com/intelligencer/201...o-q-and-a-with-navy-pilot-chad-underwood.html
So, we go out to where our designated training area is. We’re not necessarily looking for something, but the Princeton had a specific object that they wanted us to hunt, for lack of a better word. And all of a sudden, I got this blip on my radar.

Then the WSO tried locking on the object with a Single Target Track but was unable to get a lock. The FLIR was pointed in L+S slave based on that initial track.

From there the ATFLIR seems to visually lock on the IR source since no reliable radar lock is available.

We can see from the range appearing that Underwood attempts to lock on the object via radar once more but no valid result is returned (RNG 99.9). The object is just being visually tracked by ATFLIR.

So in the video we see it isn't in L+S mode (radar lock correlated to an ATFLIR lock). It is a passive visual lock such as in the GO FAST video and that is why the object is lost when it moves out of the center of the image.

Contrary to GO FAST the visual ATFLIR lock is not automatically correlated to a radar lock (in go fast the range is displayed immediately). here the radar can't "hack it".
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Then the WSO tried locking on the object with a Single Target Track but was unable to get a lock. The FLIR was pointed in L+S slave based on that initial track.

From there the ATFLIR seems to visually lock on the IR source since no reliable radar lock is available.

And that's that the key issue. How accurate was that pointing (azimuth AND elevation)? How far away was the radar target? How far away was the ATFLIR target? Can we be sure they were the same thing?
 

gtoffo

Member
And that's that the key issue. How accurate was that pointing (azimuth AND elevation)? How far away was the radar target? How far away was the ATFLIR target? Can we be sure they were the same thing?
According to the executive report posted above the initial contact with the target was at 30-40nm which is close to the limit for ATFLIR but well within radar range.

In the NYMAG interview Underwood states:
It was inside of 20 miles. You’re not going to see it with your own eyes until probably 10 miles, and then you’re not going to be able to visually track it until you’re probably inside of five miles, which is where Dave Fravor said that he saw it.

If the pointing wasn't accurate: what the hell was also in the sky at the time and what are the chances of precisely hitting it by mistake at such a range?

Furthermore: what the hell was also in the sky at the time that the F-18s radar could not track and looks like a blob on ATFLIR TV mode and on IR mode?

The ATFLIR range is significantly lower than the radar's (40+nm vs 80+nm). If you see it on ATFLIR you should definitely see it on radar.

Also this is a pretty close range for an intercept. Why did Underwood fail intercepting the thing?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
If the pointing wasn't accurate: what the hell was also in the sky at the time and what are the chances of precisely hitting it by mistake at such a range?
We have no idea how precise it was. Maybe it was a speck in the WFOV, a few degrees off.
 
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