FLIR Technician Discusses Navy videos and claims to refute Mick's claims

The way to go when putting up a solid argument is to find authoritative sources and evidence to support opinions and "feels", especially when contradicting others. In this case, Raytheon themselves serve:
Article:
Raytheon's Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared pod delivers pinpoint accuracy and reliability for air-to-air and air-to-ground mission support.

In defence of @Daniel F, he was merely questioning an earlier claim propounded by @Alphadunk that the ATFLIR system is designed solely for A/G and for which the latter, in fact, failed to present any evidence. Instead of inviting the latter to present evidence for his erroneous claim, you took it upon yourself to 'educate' a newbie to present his for questioning this erroneous claim.

I do hope this doesn't distract from the main discussion (especially since you have also contributed with many valuable arguments @Mendel). But a let-me-teach-you-ignorant-newbie approach, and rushing to highlight faults before acknowledging strong points first, is perhaps not the most constructive way to welcome new interlocutors. Especially ones that clearly had a valid point in questioning a veteran interlocutor.

Generally, in a constructive dialogue, it's better to start with validating the good points made by our counterparts before rushing to criticize and teach them. This is obviously coming from someone who readily admits he's very much a working progress himself, despite no spring chicken by now. :)
 
Also we have seen video, which Mick has described in recent podcasts where the on board system flashes a gimbal lock warning up on screen. It’s seen as possibly significant in the context of gimballed pods not being able to track and sudden rotation required to rectify. I don’t believe this is the case. I don’t think they would have an explicit on screen warning to tell the pilot that the camera is gimabal locked and in need of rotation. I believe this is a flight path warning, similar to a low altitude warning. It’s warning that the jet itself is approaching a gimbal locked position where one of its axis of movement will become redundant. This is probably only seen when attacking ground targets. Swooping in with extreme movements. This is from Wikipedia gimbal lock page -
“Consider a case of a level-sensing platform on an aircraft flying due north with its three gimbal axes mutually perpendicular (i.e., roll, pitch and yawangles each zero). If the aircraft pitches up 90 degrees, the aircraft and platform's yaw axis gimbal becomes parallel to the roll axis gimbal, and changes about yaw can no longer be compensated for.”

The ATFLIR sim manual has a section on the ATFLIR becoming gimbal limited.

"If the FLIR becomes gimbal-limited with a designation (e.g. the target enters the rear 30 degree field of exclusion), the FLIR will once again snowplow."

It's not a stretch to suggest that the warning from the other system is just a more verbose way of indicating these types of situations.

Mick comment is more just suggest that gimbal locking/limits are a real issue for targeting pods, other than this I'm failing to see your point.
 
In defence of @Daniel F, he was merely questioning an earlier claim propounded by @Alphadunk that the ATFLIR system is designed solely for A/G and for which the latter, in fact, failed to present any evidence. Instead of inviting the latter to present evidence for his erroneous claim, you took it upon yourself to 'educate' a newbie to present his for questioning this erroneous claim.

I do hope this doesn't distract from the main discussion (especially since you have also contributed with many valuable arguments @Mendel). But a let-me-teach-you-ignorant-newbie approach, and rushing to highlight faults before acknowledging strong points first, is perhaps not the most constructive way to welcome new interlocutors. Especially ones that clearly had a valid point in questioning a veteran interlocutor.

Generally, in a constructive dialogue, it's better to start with validating the good points made by our counterparts before rushing to criticize and teach them. This is obviously coming from someone who readily admits he's very much a working progress himself, despite no spring chicken by now. :)
thanks LilWabbit. It’s ok we are all friends here. I take it on the chin !
 
The ATFLIR sim manual has a section on the ATFLIR becoming gimbal limited.

"If the FLIR becomes gimbal-limited with a designation (e.g. the target enters the rear 30 degree field of exclusion), the FLIR will once again snowplow."

It's not a stretch to suggest that the warning from the other system is just a more verbose way of indicating these types of situations.

Mick comment is more just suggest that gimbal locking/limits are a real issue for targeting pods, other than this I'm failing to see your point.
Just going over the argument that the pod becomes locked when looking straight ahead of nose at 0 deg. And that it then must rotate. I think Mick postulated that the on screen warning was in relation to this. Apologies Mick if I’m misrepresenting. I’m merely arguing that it doesn’t lock when pointing dead ahead and that this on screen warning is not to do with that and is a flight path warning. Apologies, I waffle and am not the most concise but that’s what I was intending to counter.
 
I believe that there is no doubt about the multirole use of the ATFLIR, but the problem is that the gimbal lock is more frequent in dogfights due to an evident target position. I don't think bumps are due to atmospheric turbulence. There is little variation of CAS. I believe they are more related to the image stabilization by the camera.
 
I believe that there is no doubt about the multirole use of the ATFLIR, but the problem is that the gimbal lock is more frequent in dogfights due to an evident target position. I don't think bumps are due to atmospheric turbulence. There is little variation of CAS. I believe they are more related to the image stabilization by the camera.
I would question your gimbal lock being more frequent in dogfights. The only jet fighter pilot testimony I’ve heard regarding this is from Fravor and Lehto. 2 out of 2 pilots ( hardly a conclusive sample size ) have stated they never encountered gimbal lock and that the only issue they ever had was when passing over a ground target and being unable to view after passing over.
 
I would question your gimbal lock being more frequent in dogfights. The only jet fighter pilot testimony I’ve heard regarding this is from Fravor and Lehto. 2 out of 2 pilots ( hardly a conclusive sample size ) have stated they never encountered gimbal lock and that the only issue they ever had was when passing over a ground target and being unable to view after passing over.
the gimbal lock is somewhat unusual to see in airplane instruments. I was talking about observing the effects of the fourth axis which are much more visible when the target is in front of you.
 
It has pretty high dynamic range, and the IR resolution is diffraction limited, so more pixels wouldn't improve it. Interlaced scan was the bigger limitation.
I was being somewhat facetious in response to the comparison of the gimbal movement to a toy, but if the dynamic range is so good why do the targets in these videos look completely saturated? Wouldn’t you think you’d want to get better details on your target?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
I was being somewhat facetious in response to the comparison of the gimbal movement to a toy, but if the dynamic range is so good why do the targets in these videos look completely saturated?
Just the Gimbal video, probably saturated due to the video processor. Other videos are fine. Obviously explosions saturate it, but it can do bomb damage assessment afterwards.
 
I would question your gimbal lock being more frequent in dogfights. The only jet fighter pilot testimony I’ve heard regarding this is from Fravor and Lehto. 2 out of 2 pilots ( hardly a conclusive sample size ) have stated they never encountered gimbal lock and that the only issue they ever had was when passing over a ground target and being unable to view after passing over.
ATFLIR is not needed in dogfights. It's used to identify the target if it's close enough, but if you're dogfighting, you already know it's hostile. ATFLIR is needed to designate ground targets for laser-guided weapons. It doesn't designate aircraft, the radar does.
 
Last edited:
Just the Gimbal video, probably saturated due to the video processor. Other videos are fine. Obviously explosions saturate it, but it can do bomb damage assessment afterwards.
And it is interesting how in those videos when the object is not saturated and not at the diffraction limit in its imaging the objects are always identifiable.
 
Just going over the argument that the pod becomes locked when looking straight ahead of nose at 0 deg. And that it then must rotate. I think Mick postulated that the on screen warning was in relation to this. Apologies Mick if I’m misrepresenting. I’m merely arguing that it doesn’t lock when pointing dead ahead and that this on screen warning is not to do with that and is a flight path warning. Apologies, I waffle and am not the most concise but that’s what I was intending to counter.
When discussing what you think people postulate, ideally you should quote them directly.

I think the "GIMB ROLL" warning in the A-10 video is to alert the pilot to the large movement of the targeting pod that may create some image disruption. This is important when attacking a target, as it might cause the lock to be lost.

Here's an account of a friendly fire incident related to a gimbal roll
https://www.airforcemag.com/app/uploads/2020/10/20170131-AETC-WSMR-F16C-AIB-NARRATIVE-REPORT.pdf

After a successful bomb pass and two failed strafing attempts, the MP errantly pointed his aircraft at the observation point and fired his gun. One 20mm TP bullet fragment struck the mishap contractor (MC) in the back of the head. A UH-60 aircrew extracted the MC, provided urgent care, and transported him to Alamogordo, NM. The MC died at the hospital at 21:01 hours L.
[...]
As the MP rolled-in for the attack, his TGP “gimbal rolled” (Figure 12) (Tabs Z-19 to Z-33 and BB-55). A “gimbal roll” is a normal and common occurrence where the TGP can no longer maintain focus or “stare” at a target because the TGP can only turn in one direction so far before it reaches its rotational limit and needs to, momentarily, reset back to center
[...]
The MP, in his written statement to the AIB, stated that when he rolled out on the mishap strafing attack, “The gimbal roll caused the TGP to lose the laser spot track (LST)”
Content from External Source
 
For what I know the ATFLIR has been designed as a ground-targeting pod, then of course it has secondary A/A surveillance and identification capabilities, but it's surely not used in dogfights (as AgentK says too). Indeed the laser inside the ATFLIR pod is only used for ground targeting (as jarlmarl says too), there are no A/A laser guided missiles that I know of. I found it hard to find a quote which specifically says the ATFLIR is mainly for ground engagements (or the contrary), this is a good one, but it comes from a non-official source:
The primary function of the ATFLIR is to enable the accurate delivery of precision guided ordnance at a standoff distance outside of IR SAM, Anti-aircraft armament and point defense missile system ranges. The ATFLIR system is mounted on station #5 (left fuselage cheek) and has a field of regard of +30° to -150° in pitch which covers all regions other than a 30° cone at the tail (except where masked by the aircraft).
https://forums.vrsimulations.com/support/index.php/A/G_Advanced_Targeting_FLIR_(ATFLIR)

This is from an online aviation website, apparently reporting Raytheon's claims, and comes close:
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is one area where the ATFLIR is making key advances. In the nontraditional ISR arena, the lead has been taken by U.S. Navy crews over Iraq, who have been putting the pod’s talents to new uses. From their vantage point, Hornet crews have found the ATFLIR an ideal tool for monitoring movements along highways and pipelines, and for the crucial role of sweeping routes ahead of friendly forces.

A typical operation might involve a Hornet covering a counterinsurgency team in an urban area. The streets ahead of the team can be checked for potential ambushes or suspicious vehicles. Rooftops can be checked for snipers. If the night’s target is, say, a building where insurgents are to be apprehended, the ATFLIR allows the F/A-18 crew to check that no-one escapes from the house during the raid.
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-.../proven-combat-raytheon-asq-228-gets-upgraded



PS.: I agree the off-bore targeting capabilities of MiG-29 are little relevant here, having more to do with the missiles and pilot's helmet than anything else.
 
Last edited:
For what I know the ATFLIR has been designed as a ground-targeting pod, then of course it has secondary A/A surveillance and identification capabilities, but it's surely not used in dogfights (as AgentK says too).
I don't understand why it has to be pointed out that this targeting pod has air-to-ground exclusivity. Raytheon says so. There are footage, including that of the SU-37. It has air-to-air functionality. And it happens without changing the mechanism on the fly. The gimbal lock is of the device not of the mode of use. Derotation comes into play when the roll axis aligns with the LOS, whether the object in the sky or on the ground.
 
And it is interesting how in those videos when the object is not saturated and not at the diffraction limit in its imaging the objects are always identifiable.
Switching to TV mode would've gotten rid of the glare in the Gimbal video. The daylight cameras were upgraded.
 
When discussing what you think people postulate, ideally you should quote them directly.

I think the "GIMB ROLL" warning in the A-10 video is to alert the pilot to the large movement of the targeting pod that may create some image disruption. This is important when attacking a target, as it might cause the lock to be lost.

Here's an account of a friendly fire incident related to a gimbal roll
https://www.airforcemag.com/app/uploads/2020/10/20170131-AETC-WSMR-F16C-AIB-NARRATIVE-REPORT.pdf

After a successful bomb pass and two failed strafing attempts, the MP errantly pointed his aircraft at the observation point and fired his gun. One 20mm TP bullet fragment struck the mishap contractor (MC) in the back of the head. A UH-60 aircrew extracted the MC, provided urgent care, and transported him to Alamogordo, NM. The MC died at the hospital at 21:01 hours L.
[...]
As the MP rolled-in for the attack, his TGP “gimbal rolled” (Figure 12) (Tabs Z-19 to Z-33 and BB-55). A “gimbal roll” is a normal and common occurrence where the TGP can no longer maintain focus or “stare” at a target because the TGP can only turn in one direction so far before it reaches its rotational limit and needs to, momentarily, reset back to center
[...]
The MP, in his written statement to the AIB, stated that when he rolled out on the mishap strafing attack, “The gimbal roll caused the TGP to lose the laser spot track (LST)”
Content from External Source
I didn’t think I’ve misquoted or misrepresented you Mick. I thought it was quite clear but I’ve took the time to find the quote. Apologies for not doing this earlier.

Source: https://youtu.be/neTfX9Jx5AY

Podcast with Chris Lehto -

Around 1:34:00 Chris Lehto reiterates and essentially attempts to corroborate Fravors testimony that he has never witnessed this kind of rotational glare or any gimbal rotation issue - apart from if he flies directly over a target, then it can sometimes ‘spin the entire scene’ , so procedure is , that they bank away from a ground target to maintain a better lock.
He ends this with ‘ there’s no such procedure for air to air gimbal avoidance’

Directly to which, you reply - ‘ I’ve actually seen some targeting pods that pop up a message that says gimbal roll, before it does this thing…..it pops up gimbal roll and then it does a gimbal roll ‘

Earlier, around 35 mins you disagree with Fravors‘ assessment that the pod only must rotationally correct when passing over a ground target. You stated it wouldn’t need to do this but it does need to when passing horizontally left to right / right to left.

I take from this and other videos that your general theory is of a correctional roll occurring straight ahead around 0 deg and not whilst overflying a ground target.

I’m hypothesising that this is not the case and based off pilot testimony ( 2 of 2 provided ) this is not the case and that any gimbal issues are reserved to flying directly over a ground target.

With this A-10 testimony you’ve now recited above, this seems to be a 3rd account of issues relating to gimbal whilst engaging a ground target. Kind of what I’ve been saying.
 
Just for context. I think the rotational glare is a very convincing explanation but has some holes in my view, as described above.
Neither am I a tin foil hat uap believer either.
Though tin foil is a nice Segway into this photo.
A ww2 British factory worker producing tin foil or ‘ chaff ‘. They dropped this over the other end of the English channel on D day. Played havoc with their radar detection systems ! Meanwhile we all piled in elsewhere. Made the Germans believe that their predicted allied invasion at Calais was happening.….. hook line and sinker! as they say.
Id say gimbal may be a modern day chaff encounter but that’s for another thread!
1628708129201.jpeg
 
I take from this and other videos that your general theory is of a correctional roll occurring straight ahead around 0 deg and not whilst overflying a ground target.
I think there's a roll when traversing L/R, around 0°. I think this because of the physical configuration of the gimbals, the descriptions in the patents, but most importantly because we see it happen. It's very clear in FLIR1, and I'd argue also clear in GIMBAL.
 
I think there's a roll when traversing L/R, around 0°. I think this because of the physical configuration of the gimbals, the descriptions in the patents, but most importantly because we see it happen. It's very clear in FLIR1, and I'd argue also clear in GIMBAL.
Fair enough Mick. Respect your hypothesis. It is very persuasive. I’m just highlighting some legitimate arguments against.
 
I think there's a roll when traversing L/R, around 0°. I think this because of the physical configuration of the gimbals, the descriptions in the patents, but most importantly because we see it happen. It's very clear in FLIR1, and I'd argue also clear in GIMBAL.
And in the Flanker. Watch the SA cue at the top.
 
Last edited:
Fair enough Mick. Respect your hypothesis. It is very persuasive. I’m just highlighting some legitimate arguments against.

Your approach is more constructive than many others. Kudos for that.

And yet, speculating on the performance limitations of a classified system isn't really an "argument against" a direct and careful observation of the footage at hand where the latter demonstrates camera rotations and glare-like artifacts. The bump-rotation synchrony is a very significant observation discussed, and demonstrated, on this thread in some detail. As pointed out earlier, geeking out on hypothetical pod specs doesn't really refute the main argument.

Upon careful observation of the footage, the hypothesis that the synchronicity is coincidental and that the object is rotating independent of the pod is the far less likely theory to the honest observer. You will probably agree.
 
Back for a moment do drop in some new data I found on the jet glare video.
It seems the source is this website: https://avgeekery.com/this-latest-v...-half-boom-and-doom-with-some-zoom-thrown-in/

At 13:02 in this Youtube video (also on the website) you'll find the footage, I think it's a little bit longer than that of the Russian person:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wYvnvCI6mg


A few observations:
- It seems to be genuine ATFLIR footage from an F18.
- The part of the `glare' that points to the upper right is not glare, but the jet exhaust seen at a peculiar angle:
1628779706700.png
Only the two thin lines sticking out of the bottom may be glare (possibly caused by the lens behind the de-rotation device), but of course these thin spikes look nothing like the rotating part of the gimbal object at all, they look exactly like what a glare should look like.

1628779964561.png

Cheers!
 
It makes probably more sense to search for examples @Itsme, that have an object at similar range as the GIMBAL. Your example in post #142 is a jet at close(ish) range. A smaller looking object of a jet far away is of course more easier obscured by glare. I believe Mick demenstrated it in a former video. I be damned to remember which though..

Frustratingly we also do not know the range of the object in GIMBAL.
 
A few observations:
- It seems to be genuine ATFLIR footage from an F18.
- The part of the `glare' that points to the upper right is not glare, but the jet exhaust seen at a peculiar angle:
1628779706700.png
Only the two thin lines sticking out of the bottom may be glare (possibly caused by the lens behind the de-rotation device), but of course these thin spikes look nothing like the rotating part of the gimbal object at all, they look exactly like what a glare should look like.

1628779964561.png

Cheers!
Good, you found the VFA-31 cruise video. If you search some more, you'll find the VFA-131 cruise video and the VFA-143 cruise video.
The glare from the Flanker's exhaust rotates as the camera points straight forward, as we'd expect from a gimbal rotation before the dero.
 
To me it only acknowledges the optical qualities of the ATFLIR, with its sophisticated mirror optics and high grade cooled detector.
It shows that the ATFLIR is capable of looking head-on into a jet engine without any glare of significance (apart from an occasional diffraction spike maybe). This makes the ATFLIR an excellent instrument to record UAP heat signatures. It also makes the rotating glare hypothesis extremely unlikely. Recordings with other types of FLIR cameras are not representative of the unique setup of the ATFLIR. And resolution at large distances is not the same as glare.

Admitting that the rotating glare hypothesis may not fit is not the same as saying it is an extraterrestrial vehicle, you know. I tend to see some of you clinging to the rotating glare as if it is.

Apart from an occasional diffraction spike, we have zero evidence the ATFLIR is susceptable to glare. On the contrary, there even is no glare of any significance if it looks straight into a jet engine. This is backed up by the knowledge collected so far about its optical setup and the detector technology it uses. The gimbal object does not even remotely look like diffraction spikes. And we have great trouble to correlate the gimbal object's rotation with the actual ATFLIR gimbal rotation.
The rotating background noise will occur at any rotation of a bright object in the scene relative to to the front window.

Whatever the object is, it's not a rotating glare. To me this is almost an established fact by now. The only thing that remains to be explained are the 'jolts' that seem to correlate with the object's rotation.

What is causing these 'jolts' I don't know. Maybe they are small tracking speed corrections because the angular speed of the object tends to slow down when it rotates. Or maybe the pilot engages the LRD to get a range to the object and the object responds. But I'm getting tired of discussing a hypothesis here that is simply not backed up by the data. It's unscientific.
 
Your approach is more constructive than many others. Kudos for that.

And yet, speculating on the performance limitations of a classified system isn't really an "argument against" a direct and careful observation of the footage at hand where the latter demonstrates camera rotations and glare-like artifacts. The bump-rotation synchrony is a very significant observation discussed, and demonstrated, on this thread in some detail. As pointed out earlier, geeking out on hypothetical pod specs doesn't really refute the main argument.

Upon careful observation of the footage, the hypothesis that the synchronicity is coincidental and that the object is rotating independent of the pod is the far less likely theory to the honest observer. You will probably agree.
Well said LilWabbit. I’m a big believer in conversing online in the same manner that you would if face to face. Its easy to let these standards slip a bit and then it can start to be perceived as being offensive when in actual fact we are all spending our precious time trying to work out the same things. All co workers I guess so ,yes , respect is the number one priority for me.

So with that in mind I’m going to respectfully disagree with you a bit ! :)

I know we are all speculating to a certain degree on a system that we have no immediate hands on knowledge of but I will argue that I’m carefully taking the data available from the footage and encountering some important issues which throw the rotation argument into serious doubt ,in my mind at least. I also feel that there is evidence elsewhere of rotation. I've linked this evidence below.

By going off what we know, rather than speculating, I would say the following.

-We know the pod has an outer gimbal for coarse movements . This is basically how it picks a point in the sky and puts it on the pilots HUD screen.

-We know that the pod has inner gimbals, mirrors etc that are for fine adjustment and for tracking an object within the field of view that the pod is staring at. Their exact mechanics remain somewhat unknown but I think that is a decent summary.

-Because the outer gimbal is restricted to its 2 axis of rotate and pivot; using the on screen data we can map out what the pod must do to track an object. There is a combination of rotate and pivot that must be adhered to.

-We have a ‘target line’ which can be drawn from the pod to our target. This is arrived at by using 3 points of reference.
1. number of deg left/right of pod

2. number of degrees above or below pod

3. distance from the pod

-Critically, to look along this ‘target line’ the pod must do a particular combination of rotate and pivot.

Now to describe what I believe is happening I will draw a line through the pod along its pivot axis and call this our ‘pivot line’. This helps describe the position the pod is in.
The pivot line is akin to opposite numbers on a clock ( eg 9 and 3) and can be altered by rotating the pod.
So to look at an object directly in front of us and ,say, 10 deg up and some distance out we would rotate the pivot line around to 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Then pivot the pod so it looks up.
This link between our ‘target line’ and our ‘pivot line’ is crucial, in my mind.


I believe the ‘pivot line’ must always run somewhat perpendicular to the ‘target line’. Mechanically, bound on these 2 axis, it must, in order to pick a point in the sky.

1628849045373.jpeg



1628849108615.jpeg





So if a target is 54 deg left and 4 deg below then a target line can be drawn from the pod to target. The pod must rotate its ‘pivot line’ around to the approx, say 11 o’clock and 5 o’clock position and then pivot down to find the target. There is no other combination that can get the pod to pick this place out in the sky.

Regarding rotating glare; the assumption here is that the pivot line is vertical - at around say 12 and 6. The pod simply pivots across but at the centre point must rotate around to 6 and 12 and continue pivoting, in turn causing our glare to rotate when viewed after de rotation etc.

This is difficult for me to accept because.
  1. The target is 4 degrees below the aircraft, a significant distance, so an amount of downward looking is vital to pick that point out. I don’t believe the internal gimballed mirrors could do that alone, if we assume that they can fine tune within a say 1 deg field of view of the outer coarse gimbal. The analogy of looking through a soda straw is often used. The soda straw has to be pointing at the place first. This is a distant point in the sky, and when zoomed in, the inner gimbals cannot work/extend beyond the scope of the outer pod. For this to happen we would need the on screen FOV to be from 54 deg left to centre and at least 4 deg vertically. A massive expanse.
  2. If this is the case and the pivot line did remain at 12 and 6, its hypothesised that we would need to rotate at the centre line to continue across the other side. But why? If its managed to get from left to centre without rotating the outer pod then, why now? It could just continue pivoting around. We can see from atflir camera advert footage that the pod can pivot freely and wide, from one side to the other. It doesn’t get stuck at centre and requires spinning around . This is analogous to a ww2 ship gunner. He’s shooting at a plane that’s inbound. He’s raising his pod but at a point right overhead, he must spin his gun pod around to continue. The atflir could have just continued pivoting all the way down other side.
  3. If somehow the internal gimballed mirrors are doing all of this and the other pod is remaining stationary, then we should still see some evidence of the glares independence of background as it shifts all the way from 54 deg left to centre, independently of the front pod lens.
  4. Multiple examples in DCS of rotation ( see below )
As discussed previously, this can be tested with any similar gimbal and a laser. If Mick holds his flir camera against chest. Sticks laser pen on front lens; denoting line of sight. Mimics the travel of 54 deg left and 4 deg down by drawing a steady line across wall with laser. The pod must rotate constantly.

Again, I’m not an expert on the inner workings but if we carefully consider the on screen data and map out what the pods 2 axis must do to follow then I don’t think its really that speculative an approach. Am I certain ? absolutely not. I respect the hypothesis but I personally find it impossible for the object to be tracked in any other manner. So, yes there is some speculation but I believe these details are strong enough to be used as a counter argument.
The bumps are very interesting and seem absolutely connected to the pod rotation so I cannot speculate too much there.
If it is using pixels for a passive track then when the object makes an unexpected rotational movement then the track could be momentarily lost. This would look like a bump on camera. Again, its difficult to unseen the correlation, I agree. I have no knowledge of that.
My argument is by using geometry and the on screen data provided, I believe the pod to be in constant rotation. By its very nature it must be. Also, we have other examples which show clear rotation.

Here are examples from DCS with visible rotation. ( yes, its a simulator so Im presuming they are accurate , but they seem generally very well detailed replicas )


Source: https://youtu.be/HJRb_ofEtYQ

Litening pod ( not atflir but apparently very similar mechanically )- obvious rotation whenever he slews at -

at 6:00

at 6:53

Best example at 9:20 - he slews 8 deg left and then 7 deg right of centre which incurs significant rotation




Source: https://youtu.be/z_gca0oQ_JI

Gently banking creates rotation of pod screen

at 18:20



Source: https://youtu.be/aFL-qGtMN6U

Comparison of Litening and ATFLIR pods

at 1:16 shows atflir and litening side by side. Both images visibly rotating

at 4:00 slews ATFLIR pod from 2 deg right to 2 deg left showing obvious rotation of pod
(We are postulating that from 54 deg left to 0 deg is done in gimbal with no rotation.)



Source: https://youtu.be/57WWVRpCJUY

Litening pod from 56 deg right to 110 deg right, showing continuous rotation

at 2:00 - 2:30
 

Attachments

  • 1628848963081.jpeg
    1628848963081.jpeg
    70.9 KB · Views: 133
  • 1628848977847.jpeg
    1628848977847.jpeg
    70.9 KB · Views: 137
  • 1628848999132.jpeg
    1628848999132.jpeg
    71.3 KB · Views: 129
On the contrary, there even is no glare of any significance if it looks straight into a jet engine.
You seem to be ignoring all objections to your take, and you have no explanation for why the rotation occurs at the exact same time as the camera bumps.

We've learned on this thread that glare can be caused by scratches on an optical surface caused by wiping it clean; each individual ATFLIR unit would therefore exhibit its own level of glare, with a new unit having less and an older u it having more of it.

Glare is also angular, i.e. if you have a bigger object you are looking at (like a jet engine close up), the glare is going to be the same size as when you look at a small object (like a jet engine far away), the glare size will not scale with the object size, making the glare relatively larger when the object is small.

Glare also depends highly on brightness and contrast setting; for example, the sun "shrinks" considerably when photographed through dark glass. Glare size is not comparable when brightness and contrast settings differ; and its look can also be changed by sharpness filters, which also do not scale with size.

For these reasons, the comparison that you base your argument on is not convincing.
 
Well said LilWabbit. I’m a big believer in conversing online in the same manner that you would if face to face. Its easy to let these standards slip a bit and then it can start to be perceived as being offensive when in actual fact we are all spending our precious time trying to work out the same things. All co workers I guess so ,yes , respect is the number one priority for me.

So with that in mind I’m going to respectfully disagree with you a bit ! :)

I know we are all speculating to a certain degree on a system that we have no immediate hands on knowledge of but I will argue that I’m carefully taking the data available from the footage and encountering some important issues which throw the rotation argument into serious doubt ,in my mind at least. I also feel that there is evidence elsewhere of rotation. I've linked this evidence below.

By going off what we know, rather than speculating, I would say the following.

-We know the pod has an outer gimbal for coarse movements . This is basically how it picks a point in the sky and puts it on the pilots HUD screen.

-We know that the pod has inner gimbals, mirrors etc that are for fine adjustment and for tracking an object within the field of view that the pod is staring at. Their exact mechanics remain somewhat unknown but I think that is a decent summary.

-Because the outer gimbal is restricted to its 2 axis of rotate and pivot; using the on screen data we can map out what the pod must do to track an object. There is a combination of rotate and pivot that must be adhered to.

-We have a ‘target line’ which can be drawn from the pod to our target. This is arrived at by using 3 points of reference.
1. number of deg left/right of pod

2. number of degrees above or below pod

3. distance from the pod

-Critically, to look along this ‘target line’ the pod must do a particular combination of rotate and pivot.

Now to describe what I believe is happening I will draw a line through the pod along its pivot axis and call this our ‘pivot line’. This helps describe the position the pod is in.
The pivot line is akin to opposite numbers on a clock ( eg 9 and 3) and can be altered by rotating the pod.
So to look at an object directly in front of us and ,say, 10 deg up and some distance out we would rotate the pivot line around to 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Then pivot the pod so it looks up.
This link between our ‘target line’ and our ‘pivot line’ is crucial, in my mind.


I believe the ‘pivot line’ must always run somewhat perpendicular to the ‘target line’. Mechanically, bound on these 2 axis, it must, in order to pick a point in the sky.

1628849045373.jpeg



1628849108615.jpeg





So if a target is 54 deg left and 4 deg below then a target line can be drawn from the pod to target. The pod must rotate its ‘pivot line’ around to the approx, say 11 o’clock and 5 o’clock position and then pivot down to find the target. There is no other combination that can get the pod to pick this place out in the sky.

Regarding rotating glare; the assumption here is that the pivot line is vertical - at around say 12 and 6. The pod simply pivots across but at the centre point must rotate around to 6 and 12 and continue pivoting, in turn causing our glare to rotate when viewed after de rotation etc.

This is difficult for me to accept because.
  1. The target is 4 degrees below the aircraft, a significant distance, so an amount of downward looking is vital to pick that point out. I don’t believe the internal gimballed mirrors could do that alone, if we assume that they can fine tune within a say 1 deg field of view of the outer coarse gimbal. The analogy of looking through a soda straw is often used. The soda straw has to be pointing at the place first. This is a distant point in the sky, and when zoomed in, the inner gimbals cannot work/extend beyond the scope of the outer pod. For this to happen we would need the on screen FOV to be from 54 deg left to centre and at least 4 deg vertically. A massive expanse.
  2. If this is the case and the pivot line did remain at 12 and 6, its hypothesised that we would need to rotate at the centre line to continue across the other side. But why? If its managed to get from left to centre without rotating the outer pod then, why now? It could just continue pivoting around. We can see from atflir camera advert footage that the pod can pivot freely and wide, from one side to the other. It doesn’t get stuck at centre and requires spinning around . This is analogous to a ww2 ship gunner. He’s shooting at a plane that’s inbound. He’s raising his pod but at a point right overhead, he must spin his gun pod around to continue. The atflir could have just continued pivoting all the way down other side.
  3. If somehow the internal gimballed mirrors are doing all of this and the other pod is remaining stationary, then we should still see some evidence of the glares independence of background as it shifts all the way from 54 deg left to centre, independently of the front pod lens.
  4. Multiple examples in DCS of rotation ( see below )
As discussed previously, this can be tested with any similar gimbal and a laser. If Mick holds his flir camera against chest. Sticks laser pen on front lens; denoting line of sight. Mimics the travel of 54 deg left and 4 deg down by drawing a steady line across wall with laser. The pod must rotate constantly.

Again, I’m not an expert on the inner workings but if we carefully consider the on screen data and map out what the pods 2 axis must do to follow then I don’t think its really that speculative an approach. Am I certain ? absolutely not. I respect the hypothesis but I personally find it impossible for the object to be tracked in any other manner. So, yes there is some speculation but I believe these details are strong enough to be used as a counter argument.
The bumps are very interesting and seem absolutely connected to the pod rotation so I cannot speculate too much there.
If it is using pixels for a passive track then when the object makes an unexpected rotational movement then the track could be momentarily lost. This would look like a bump on camera. Again, its difficult to unseen the correlation, I agree. I have no knowledge of that.
My argument is by using geometry and the on screen data provided, I believe the pod to be in constant rotation. By its very nature it must be. Also, we have other examples which show clear rotation.

Here are examples from DCS with visible rotation. ( yes, its a simulator so Im presuming they are accurate , but they seem generally very well detailed replicas )


Source: https://youtu.be/HJRb_ofEtYQ

Litening pod ( not atflir but apparently very similar mechanically )- obvious rotation whenever he slews at -

at 6:00

at 6:53

Best example at 9:20 - he slews 8 deg left and then 7 deg right of centre which incurs significant rotation




Source: https://youtu.be/z_gca0oQ_JI

Gently banking creates rotation of pod screen

at 18:20



Source: https://youtu.be/aFL-qGtMN6U

Comparison of Litening and ATFLIR pods

at 1:16 shows atflir and litening side by side. Both images visibly rotating

at 4:00 slews ATFLIR pod from 2 deg right to 2 deg left showing obvious rotation of pod
(We are postulating that from 54 deg left to 0 deg is done in gimbal with no rotation.)



Source: https://youtu.be/57WWVRpCJUY

Litening pod from 56 deg right to 110 deg right, showing continuous rotation

at 2:00 - 2:30

The problem is the simulator version is not accurate 100% for the physical limits of the pod. The forums for DCS mention that the simulated version often lack the real world problems/flaws of the pods. Eg the older Navy pod has less resolution than ATLFIR but DCS does not simulate this on the display giving instead a perfect image at zooms.

This is mostly because it's far easier to program the "perfect" pod than it is to emulate all the constraints of the physical system. For the external view the pod only has to look "good enough" to look right, it's not fully physically simulated.

We can use the sims to try and corroborate the controls/system terminology etc, but they lack the flaws that the real world systems have, there's no full optical IR simulation, no simulated complicated internal mirror/gimbal system. Essentially the sims are an interactive version of the information that exists publicly or possibly leaked inside the community from interested parties (people in the Navy who want to play fighter pilot.) that's been collated by the programmers and turned into the simulation. It's like they did a lot of unbiased research for us and it's just presented in game format.

The very flaws that lead to these videos being UAPs are the things that are not simulated.

The other thing is that the 3 Navy videos are often cited on the forums as having new information on how the sim should work, that's pretty telling these 3 videos are actually a new source of information for them on how the pod functions. Maybe they'll build in gimbal locking based on the information from the gimbal video.
 
The problem is the simulator version is not accurate 100% for the physical limits of the pod. The forums for DCS mention that the simulated version often lack the real world problems/flaws of the pods. Eg the older Navy pod has less resolution than ATLFIR but DCS does not simulate this on the display giving instead a perfect image at zooms.

This is mostly because it's far easier to program the "perfect" pod than it is to emulate all the constraints of the physical system. For the external view the pod only has to look "good enough" to look right, it's not fully physically simulated.

We can use the sims to try and corroborate the controls/system terminology etc, but they lack the flaws that the real world systems have, there's no full optical IR simulation, no simulated complicated internal mirror/gimbal system. Essentially the sims are an interactive version of the information that exists publicly or possibly leaked inside the community from interested parties (people in the Navy who want to play fighter pilot.) that's been collated by the programmers and turned into the simulation. It's like they did a lot of unbiased research for us and it's just presented in game format.

The very flaws that lead to these videos being UAPs are the things that are not simulated.

The other thing is that the 3 Navy videos are often cited on the forums as having new information on how the sim should work, that's pretty telling these 3 videos are actually a new source of information for them on how the pod functions. Maybe they'll build in gimbal locking based on the information from the gimbal video.
Understood. I agree that using a sim as ref Is a stretch but I’m using it more as a side note in line with the mechanical issues I was pointing out. I’m also presuming that the rotation you see above in the sims is somewhat reflective of what a pilot actually sees. I’m sure it’s not mimicking the internal mechanics but I’m assuming that it’s mimicking what a pilot observes on screen. So this rotation we see is probably not far off. Again, it’s speculation but I believe it’s more speculative to assume the pod does not move at from beginning of gimbal video at 54 deg left to centre. I personally believe this to be impossible. And if that is impossible then consequently the rotating glare is not possible as described. The mechanics of rotate and pivot in conjunction with the on screen data means we can make a relatively strong argument as to what the pod is doing. This is backed up by the numerous DCS on screen ‘replications‘ That’s what they are trying to do essentially- replicate what the pilot sees.
 
I'll let those that are much better versed in optics respond more scrupulously to your glare objections. @Mendel seems to have already pointed out some pertinent points in terms of glares looking proportionally bigger in faraway objects (sometimes in fact entirely covering the objects) as opposed to the nozzle glares in your footage.

What is causing these 'jolts' I don't know. Maybe they are small tracking speed corrections because the angular speed of the object tends to slow down when it rotates.

The rotations of the object seem more like camera shake corrections performed by a sophisticated gimbal system.

A corrective algorithm in the pod engaging during bumps and shakes, for whatever reason and of whatever exact type, is still, scientifically, the far likelier and more parsimonious hypothesis for the consistent and precise bump-rotation synchrony (5 times in the GIMBAL footage) than the far-out speculation of an alien craft responding to human craft LRD in perfect synchrony for fantastical reasons. We already know automatic shake-stabilization exists in all manner of commercial cameras. We also know that shake-stabilization AI and mechanics are very much a working progress, far from perfect even in sophisticated systems. Maybe this is the ATFLIR system engaging a similar stabilization and/or image-correction.

Not only does the former hypothesis make fewer additional assumptions to explain the observation (Occam's Razor), it also predicts the rotations perfectly (testability). It can also be falsified if, under similar conditions, an exactly identical ATFLIR system fails repeatedly to rotate in perfect correlation with the bumps.

But I'm getting tired of discussing a hypothesis here that is simply not backed up by the data. It's unscientific.

As shown above, it's the alien craft hypothesis which consistently fails to meet basic scientific standards with respect to the evidence at hand.
 
I'll let those that are much better versed in optics respond more scrupulously to your glare objections. @Mendel seems to have already pointed out some pertinent points in terms of glares looking proportionally bigger in faraway objects (sometimes in fact entirely covering the objects) as opposed to the nozzle glares in your footage.



The rotations of the object seem more like camera shake corrections performed by a sophisticated gimbal system.

A corrective algorithm in the pod engaging during bumps and shakes, for whatever reason and of whatever exact type, is still, scientifically, the far likelier and more parsimonious hypothesis for the consistent and precise bump-rotation synchrony (5 times in the GIMBAL footage) than the far-out speculation of an alien craft responding to human craft LRD in perfect synchrony for fantastical reasons. We already know automatic shake-stabilization exists in all manner of commercial cameras. We also know that shake-stabilization AI and mechanics are very much a working progress, far from perfect even in sophisticated systems. Maybe this is the ATFLIR system engaging a similar stabilization and/or image-correction.

Not only does the former hypothesis make fewer additional assumptions to explain the observation (Occam's Razor), it also predicts the rotations perfectly (testability). It can also be falsified if, under similar conditions, an exactly identical ATFLIR system fails repeatedly to rotate in perfect correlation with the bumps.



As shown above, it's the alien craft hypothesis which consistently fails to meet basic scientific standards with respect to the evidence at hand.
Agreed. The camera bumps are beyond my ability to speculate. The pod, I believe, is in constant rotation. So coming up with a solution which incorporates these two points is beyond me ! I’m sure that nations spend billions on secret systems whose sole purpose is to change/hide//generally mess up an aircrafts signature when being tracked by an enemy. Could it be this ? Plausible. Again, I’m not denouncing the rotational glare - just standing firm that the pod is in constant rotation in that gimbal footage- otherwise we couldn’t see the object. More data please !
 
Agreed. The camera bumps are beyond my ability to speculate. The pod, I believe, is in constant rotation. So coming up with a solution which incorporates these two points is beyond me ! I’m sure that nations spend billions on secret systems whose sole purpose is to change/hide//generally mess up an aircrafts signature when being tracked by an enemy. Could it be this ? Plausible. Again, I’m not denouncing the rotational glare - just standing firm that the pod is in constant rotation in that gimbal footage- otherwise we couldn’t see the object. More data please !
I'm not 100% user what your drawings mean but this is the pod, looking at directly us. It can rotate in the green axis and the inner section can rotate on the red axis. the camera entrance is inside the rectangle.

If it's tracking something with a pan of the inner section red axis depending on the angle of the green axis it reaches a point where it can't keep tracking unless it rotates the green axis, this causes the rotation of the camera system for which the the de-rotation mechanism compensates.

1628857352125.pngatflir-pingpong-metabunk.gif

Because we are so zoomed in any sudden new vector of movement is going to seem large so when the system has to use a new axis or a coarser move to compensate there is likely to be bumps as these happen.

Imagine you are tracking an plane with a zoom lens camera, you twist your neck to track but then you run out of neck range, so your move your torso, there's' likely to be a jolt as the new rotation kicks in and then if you have to take a step to rotate your whole body even more of a jolt.
 
Last edited:
I'm not 100% user what your drawings mean but this is the pod, looking at directly us. It can rotate in the green axis and the inner section can rotate on the red axis. the camera entrance is inside the rectangle.

If it's tracking something with a pan of the inner section red axis depending on the angle of the green axis it reaches a point where it can't keep tracking unless it rotates the green axis, this causes the rotation of the camera system for which the the de-rotation mechanism compensates.

1628857352125.pngatflir-pingpong-metabunk.gif

Because we are so zoomed in any sudden new vector of movement is going to seem large so when the system has to use a new axis or a coarser move to compensate there is likely to be bumps as these happen.
You are correct. So image something crossing the horizontal axis. Remaining perfectly level. In this instance. The pod would not rotate on its green axis but would simply pan across.
Now convert this into a dynamic 3D air to air environment. This would almost never be the case. The combination of your craft bank angle, direction, velocity against the other crafts same variables the pod is in constant rotation. It’s the easiest most accurate ( and only ) way that a moving target can be tracked. I think that the 0 deg predicament that is mentioned in the Raytheon literature alluded to this exact point. I think that 0 deg is a target travelling directly along the red axis. And that this is to be avoided as you are restricted if any sudden deviations take place. Difficult to explain but again, in reality the pod is mainly rotating at all times ( green axis ) with constant minor adjustments of pitch ( red axis ).
 
We also know that shake-stabilization AI and mechanics are very much a working progress, far from perfect even in sophisticated systems. Maybe this is the ATFLIR system engaging a similar stabilization and/or image-correction.

Indeed. There is a whole branch of mathematics called 'control theory' which deals with feedback systems, that is to say, systems which try to keep a parameter constant under perturbations, such as keeping the object tracked at the center of the scene. There are limits to what controllers can do, even in theory, an obvious one being that no control system can forecast the future, so any 'sudden' enough perturbation (I guess air turbulence, in this case) will always cause a 'bump', while electronics react, calculations are made and the optics are moved to get the object back into position. And the bumps being correlated with the rotations is a natural conclusion with the 'glare' hypothesis, while...
Itsme said:
The only thing that remains to be explained are the 'jolts' that seem to correlate with the object's rotation.
... there's the need for an additional hypothesis to explain it under the 'no-glare' model, and by itself this decreases the probability of the 'no-glare' hypothesis (or use Occam's razor if you don't like Bayes to get the same result).


Itsme said:
Apart from an occasional diffraction spike, we have zero evidence the ATFLIR is susceptable to glare.
But we know that all optical systems are susceptible to glare, at least in some conditions. It's also been explained why you can have no glare (well, except 'occasional diffraction spikes') in a case and glares in others, as anyone who has ever took pictures can confirm is the case. A priori, it's highly probable an ATFLIR can be susceptible to glare and I personally need much more evidence for ATFLIR to be immune to glare than a single video to overcome that prior probability. Instead I only need one video to convince me ATFLIR is susceptible, and GIMBAL looks a good candidate.
 
Last edited:
To me it only acknowledges the optical qualities of the ATFLIR, with its sophisticated mirror optics and high grade cooled detector.
It shows that the ATFLIR is capable of looking head-on into a jet engine without any glare of significance (apart from an occasional diffraction spike maybe). This makes the ATFLIR an excellent instrument to record UAP heat signatures. It also makes the rotating glare hypothesis extremely unlikely. Recordings with other types of FLIR cameras are not representative of the unique setup of the ATFLIR. And resolution at large distances is not the same as glare.
ATFLIR is like the COVID-19 vaccine: very good but not flawless.
Admitting that the rotating glare hypothesis may not fit is not the same as saying it is an extraterrestrial vehicle, you know. I tend to see some of you clinging to the rotating glare as if it is.
Suggest a better explanation that's more plausible than glare that may or may not look odd.
Apart from an occasional diffraction spike, we have zero evidence the ATFLIR is susceptable to glare. On the contrary, there even is no glare of any significance if it looks straight into a jet engine. This is backed up by the knowledge collected so far about its optical setup and the detector technology it uses. The gimbal object does not even remotely look like diffraction spikes. And we have great trouble to correlate the gimbal object's rotation with the actual ATFLIR gimbal rotation.
You extrapolate from short range to long range.
The rotating background noise will occur at any rotation of a bright object in the scene relative to to the front window.
No idea where you got that.
Whatever the object is, it's not a rotating glare. To me this is almost an established fact by now. The only thing that remains to be explained are the 'jolts' that seem to correlate with the object's rotation.

What is causing these 'jolts' I don't know. Maybe they are small tracking speed corrections because the angular speed of the object tends to slow down when it rotates. Or maybe the pilot engages the LRD to get a range to the object and the object responds. But I'm getting tired of discussing a hypothesis here that is simply not backed up by the data. It's unscientific.
I think you got some Disagrees for your "It's unscientific" remark. You know what's scientific? Testing predictions. Like, starting with the hypothesis that the video named Gimbal shows rotation of the gimbal when it points straight ahead, check if the FLIR1 video has the same issue, and it does, and then check if the Flanker video has the same issue when the camera points straight ahead, and it does.
 
Difficult to explain but again, in reality the pod is mainly rotating at all times ( green axis ) with constant minor adjustments of pitch ( red axis ).
That makes no sense in the Gimbal video situation.

The patents specifically say the roll rotation are energy hungry and inaccurate. They are to be avoided.

The "pitch" rotation is capable of moving the field of regard from left to right. At 2° down it's mostly all you need until you get close to 0° L/R

(I put "pitch" in quotes because that axis can be horizontal, vertical, or anything in between)

Have a look at what actually happens when you track L/R, just with a 2-axis system. Over most of the range it's just pitch.

Source: https://youtu.be/4X1PRDbtiF0?t=238
 
That makes no sense in the Gimbal video situation.

The patents specifically say the roll rotation are energy hungry and inaccurate. They are to be avoided.

The "pitch" rotation is capable of moving the field of regard from left to right. At 2° down it's mostly all you need until you get close to 0° L/R

(I put "pitch" in quotes because that axis can be horizontal, vertical, or anything in between)

Have a look at what actually happens when you track L/R, just with a 2-axis system. Over most of the range it's just pitch.
Ironic that a Forward Looking Infrared pod doesn't like to look forward, eh? It usually looks down at ground targets.
 
That makes no sense in the Gimbal video situation.

The patents specifically say the roll rotation are energy hungry and inaccurate. They are to be avoided.

The "pitch" rotation is capable of moving the field of regard from left to right. At 2° down it's mostly all you need until you get close to 0° L/R

(I put "pitch" in quotes because that axis can be horizontal, vertical, or anything in between)

Have a look at what actually happens when you track L/R, just with a 2-axis system. Over most of the range it's just pitch.

Source: https://youtu.be/4X1PRDbtiF0?t=238


Source: https://youtu.be/HJRb_ofEtYQ


what is happening, in your opinion at 9:20 ?

The pod is 6 deg down constant. I think gimbal was 4 deg down constant. As he slews the pod, a constant rotation is visible throughout. This is consistent through all the targeting pod DCS footage and is consistent with my point.
Yes, it’s a sim, but I imagine they would not replicate this rotation in the sim if it is not consistent with what a pilot observes.
 
You imagine? The sim just has to be good enough to be close, the real world pod has to perform physically under limitations. The easiest way to program a good enough pod simulation is to ignore these restrictions.

eg they don't even model zooms correctly:

https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/267851-atflir-maximum-zoom-vs-litening-tgp/

"Precisely, DCS doesn't really model different "kinds" of zoom, or limitations of optics/digital zoom and so forth, nor sensor resolution limits. A long range, you might see something that your sensor can detect as 3-4 pixel blob, and no matter how much say "enhance" "enhance" "enhance" in digital world Its still gonna be a 16 pixel (blob) with the rough shape of the original object."

We have the patent which shows the real pod tries to avoid the major rotations. It's unlikely simulating this is a priority of the sim makers, over other features as long as it is close enough.
 
Back
Top