Long Distance Drones, Maybe Foreign, as Possible UFOs.

Well, being an amateur drone pilot, I'm sort of starting to love this discussion. However, I'm a bit short on time today, so I'll try to make this short for now . I'd say that, while a quadcopter drone does emit noise, it can be barely inaudible when at height. In this sense, they can be used to spy simply due to being too small to see/hear when flying at a few hundred feet up and there is ambient noise. Some drones have optical zoom (e.g. a Mavic 2 version), some have digital up to 10x (Fimi X8) but given the fact that most have relatively high-res sensors, details can probably be deduced from most photos/videos.

Now, range and flight time for off-the shelf quadcopters is 30-40 min max and around 6 to 10 miles ( with return) for the good ones. Both can be extended through modification, but it depends.. BUT, as long as the video feed works, most modern drones also record the video feed on the phone, so it's conceivably not necessary for the drone to come back once it got the data. It could, for example, overfly a carrier as it's passing close to land and then autoland itself in the sea on low battery. Sure, they cost at least a few hundred bucks a piece, but for a state actor/ organization , that is nothing.

The real risk/capability lies in the fpv racer and flying wing crowd, as posted above. Those are much easier to customize, including for example using 800 MHz or lower frequencies for long range, or using the 4G mobile network for video feed and control .

I'll leave a few YouTube examples of what is capable using modified consumer drones. As far as I understand, most of these are small enough so their radar footprint is too tiny to be picked up, and at the same time small enough to pass unnoticed if flying at a few hundred feet.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDdawbk6GVE


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


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-3reK7i9jQ


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_a9x0vT8l0
 

3db

New Member
Back in December 2015, one of my favorite authors, David Poyer (30 year naval officer career, retired in 2001), released his novel "Tipping Point". It is part of his long running series following the career of a fictional US naval officer, and the setting is just before WW3 begins between China and the US (if you like sea/military fiction, you should definitely check out his works). Does the section below from page 107 ring any bells? The object in question pops up for a paragraph or so for the next couple books before, MINOR PLOT SPOILER, they focus the radar on it at max power and microwave it out of the sky. Its a Chinese surveillance balloon.
poyer_tipping_point.jpg

The US has actually used balloons for area surveillance of the USSR in the 1950s, pre-satellite and pre U-2, see Project Genetrix for details (covered in Shadow Flights: Americas Secret Air War Against The Soviet Union, by Curtis Peebles). They were not super effective, mainly because to retrieve the photographs, the balloon payload had to be physically recovered, which involved waiting to pick up its tracking beacon after it drifted across a continent, also, the areas photographed were only slightly less than random. Impressively, a significant minority of payloads were recovered. Also, the soviets picked a lot of them up and were understandably annoyed.

I think they would be much more viable now, as communications technology is much more advanced, so they could report back remotely, and perhaps network with each other to extend communication range. So within the context of spying on the navy, my use case is as follows. Release a balloon up wind of the training area, or perhaps float it into the training area on a small underwater UAV (unmanned aquatic vehicle :) ) and deploy it if it drifts into the target zone. Once the balloon floats out of the target area, or it is in danger of going over land, or it thinks something is getting close to it, it will pop itself. The small, (at least relative to the 1950s sensors package) will sink to the bottom of the sea, and the balloon its self will disintegrate, so any evidence will be hard to find. Any data retrieved would be transmitted back to a remote location before destruction.

For reference, here is a guy back in 2015 sending a GoPro up in a balloon.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y0nHhFGXDo
 

CeruleanBlu

Senior Member.
So I thought it might be useful to open a discussion about what drones are available. What are the limits in terms of range, speed, and maneuverability? What do those drones look like? What's possible now that we know of, and what might be possible with a larger military budget? What does it take to eliminate the possibility of a drone?


In the spirit of knowing what the current state of drones currently in use, it may also be good to remember the anti-drone activity as well. I follow many different YouTube channels trying to stay up to date with technology from all areas, and this one was of interest for many reasons.





Screenshot 2021-06-09 15.58.22.png


An interceptor drone is fired from a moving vehicle to then seek out invading drones and use any means necessary to stop them without destructive explosives, including shooting "strong, stringy streamers" at them to foul the propellers.

Screenshot 2021-06-09 15.58.26.png


I like to keep track of what's currently being tested and used in the field like this to give me a better idea of what exists in the real world, it can serve to give debunkers concrete factual information in a world of guesswork and supposition. From these unclassified efforts by the military and their contractors available for us to see it can also shed light on the dark programs we can't see, and where they may be looking in fields like force preservation.
 

LilWabbit

New Member
While it is of course possible that some UFOs seen buzzing restricted military areas are aliens craft, a more likely possibility, at least in the last ten years, is that they are drones.

Russia, China, Iran, and other countries have historically spied on the US. There are also domestic threats (e.g. anti-globalist militias) who might want to keep an eye on the military for a variety of reasons.

So I thought it might be useful to open a discussion about what drones are available.

Drone swarms and "Mosaic Warfare" (a DARPA term) are currently explored as the future of warfare by many armed forces the world over, and by every service branch of the US Armed Forces. Even the Marine Corps is exploring kamikaze drone swarms (OPF-I, Organic Precision Fire-Infantry). Tactically, drones operated by the military can be deployed for (1) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), (2) tactical deception (TD) and (3) strike.

In other words, "spying" is only one of many tactical uses and capabilities for drones explored by militaries. In terms of UAP, these 3 different tactical uses result in somewhat different-looking capabilities and tests, including their footage and RADAR readings. For instance, a drone swarm deployed for tactical deception may well be intended to be picked up by RADAR technology whereas intelligence and strike drone programs would prioritize developing stealth and surprise capabilities, respectively. All three tactical uses may benefit for being mistaken for civilian drones if spotted.

In terms of drone swarm strike capabilities, as the former director of DARPA's Strategic Technology Office said in 2018: "The idea will be to send so many weapon and sensor platforms at the enemy that its forces are overwhelmed. The goal is to take complexity and to turn that into an asymmetric advantage."

Given the novelty as well as the strategic importance of drone swarm capabilities, drone swarm tests (especially when deploying LOS drone swarms and especially when used for tactical deception) are (1) bound to astound unsuspecting test subjects (2) and remain highly classified. If pressed to explain leaked footage of classified drone technology (whether US or enemy), Pentagon has little choice but to deny or obfuscate. "UAP" actually provides a convenient smokescreen.

The onus of proof is on the claimant of the more unlikely hypothesis setting forth that Pentagon would always provide straightforward and honest answers on secret capabilities caught by sensors and leaked to the public.
 
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JMartJr

Active Member
I guess this is the thread for this -- I just ran across this picture of the new refueling drone MQ-25 Stingray. From many angles, the big long wings are very noticeable, but from others it is interestingly tic tac or cigar shaped, and the fact that itis shown refueling a FA-18, and is about the same size, is also noteworthy. In some pictures at least on version is painted white.

I don't see it as being what Fravor et al saw, but it is an interesting example of the range of things that might show up in a test range, and be seen by pilots, and misidentified or remain unidentified.

The photo comes up in Google search as being from the linked page below, though it is not actually visible on the page that I can find.

Boeings-MQ-25-T1-becomes-first-drone-to-refuel-aircraft-mid-air.jpg

https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/20...anned-aircraft-refuel-navy-jet/3971623077660/


The feat was accomplished after an F/A-18 test pilot flew in close formation behind the MQ-25 during the initial part of the flight to ensure stability for refueling -- with as little as 20 feet of separation between the unmanned aircraft and the fighter jet's refueling probe -- according to the statement.

"This history-making event is a credit to our joint Boeing and Navy team that is all-in on delivering MQ-25's critical aerial refueling capability to the fleet as soon as possible," Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security in the statement.

Adding just before posting: Here is a white version from defensenews.com, dated 2018.
1623380577311.png
https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2...or-new-mq-25-stingray-aerial-refueling-drone/
Image clipped from video at that link.
 
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