NYT: GIMBAL Video of U.S. Navy Jet Encounter with Unknown Object

Daniel F

Member
The atflir can switch between white hot, black hot and tv mode. He seems to put foot in mouth and says ‘ now it’s in tv mode and has an aura around it ‘. It’s clearly black hot heat signature. He must have watched this a thousand times? I will give benefit of doubt though, and presume he misspoke in the arresting stare of Mr Rogan. Very strange though.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
Anyone else spot that ? It’s quite jarring misdiagnosis. Also, our friend Jeremy Corbell is insufferable....
The comment is at 40:24 give or take a few seconds. I agree he definitely says it (Gimbal) switches to TV mode. Maybe he is unconsciously thinking of the FLIR1 video, where there is such a switch. But it's still a surprising mistake to make when the Gimbal video is in front of him.

[Written before I saw Jarlmai's comment above.]
 

Daniel F

Member
The comment is at 40:24 give or take a few seconds. I agree he definitely says it (Gimbal) switches to TV mode. Maybe he is unconsciously thinking of the FLIR1 video, where there is such a switch. But it's still a surprising mistake to make when the Gimbal video is in front of him.
Agreed. He’s obviously well versed in all the systems to a level you and I will never attain. But that just makes the gaffe even more surprising.
 

Daniel F

Member
Indeed the footage titled FLIR1 does switch through tv mode, so maybe he was just confusing the two in the heat of the moment. He probably knew millions would be watching. Could be quite nerve wracking .
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The videos have names, these names seem to have been assigned to them by the US Military as they appear on the official documents requesting the release (although TTSA misspelled it "Gimble" on the form.)

So we have the Navy calling the video we are discussing in this thread "GIMBAL" it also just so happens that this video apparently demonstrates a problem with the ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting, Forward Look Infra Red) system where it's "gimballed" 2 axis camera system will get to positions when tracking where a fast major rotation of the front element can occur and that this combined with the de-rotation system can cause odd effects on glares in the video. So the Navy called it GIMBAL for some reason and it seems to show a gimballing issue. So that seems quite the coincidence does it not?

There is another video called by the Navy "Go Fast" taken on the same flight/plane/crew as GIMBAL which shows something on ATLFLIR looking like it's "going fast" when it isn't. Is it possible there's an implied question mark on this video name. That both short clips are known by the Navy to show some common issues/misconceptions that pilots might have when looking at object purely on ATLFLIR.

There is also a video called FLIR or Nimitz, this is the Underwood/Fravor video which doesn't seem to have a name that relates to any issues it might show.

All the videos seem to show footage from Navy Raytheon ATFLIR pods fitted to F/18 aircraft operating from US Navy ships.

https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/atflir
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/ASQ-228_ATFLIR
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Indeed the footage titled FLIR1 does switch through tv mode, so maybe he was just confusing the two in the heat of the moment. He probably knew millions would be watching. Could be quite nerve wracking .
A trained observer making mistakes under pressure?
 

Daniel F

Member
A trained observer making mistakes under pressure?
Doesn’t look good does it ! its an issue but you have to believe either
1. He genuinely believes that it was in tv mode and has an aura, despite having watched it probably hundreds of times and being well trained with these systems.
2. He just conflated the two videos in that moment in a simple cock up.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Not according to the simulator manuals and reference videos. That's not how the system is designed from I can tell. It would need evidence to the contrary to show that it can be SLAVED and not have L+S or SLAVE boxed, and not just the testimony which never specifically states this although it implies something. Someone directly addressing the lack of the boxing of the words is needed. The words on screen are next to buttons on the display they indicate which button is pressed to activate that option, the manuals are clear that when L+S is SLAVED to the L+S words are boxed.

Also if the target were SLAVED to a RADAR track changes to the zoom level would not cause the pod to lose track, the RADAR would keep the ATLFIR pointing at the track.

You can also see the "confidence" bars during the video, these show the "confidence" the optical auto track has that it is tracking a target these fluctuate indicating optical tracking is happening.

I've linked the simulator manuals here before, have you read them?
Yes I've linked a couple myself and some tutorial. I love sims. However: those are very partial simulators. Not all modes are present and most of those systems are heavily classified.

Also the F-18/C being simulated is from around 20 years ago. It is a LOT 20 aircraft from the 2000s. A lot has changed since. https://wiki.hoggitworld.com/view/F/A-18C

We can use those manuals to inform our analysis. But they are in no way conclusive.

The pilots are directly stating in the video that they have an L+S track. We don't know better than them and must take them at face value unless we can find a pilot analysing the video and explaining they are making a mistake. They are the only source possible for those systems.

What this means is that they have RADAR confirmation of the object (it is also on the SA page for a reason). They have range and bearing and the ATFLIR is directly pointed at the object as seen by the radar (which could be their radar or somebody sharing through link-16). The ATFLIR could still be making the finer tracking through optical means but it is obtaining the general direction through the radar track.

This makes a misidentification even more improbable.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
L+S being boxed or not doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would change that much, seems like critical information to know what your ATLFIR is pointing at before you fire a missile.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
L+S being boxed or not doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would change that much, seems like critical information to know what your ATLFIR is pointing at before you fire a missile.
I was assuming it would be boxed.

But the pilots are saying the exact opposite (also directly in the video!).

The ATFLIR may be pointed at the L+S track but not "slaved". Slaved might mean something more such as "providing guidance to the weapon" while if it is just pointed no data is being provided to the weapon.

All we can do is trust what the pilots are saying here. We don't have enough reliable information to discard what they are saying.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
L+S Slaved means sharing the LOS with the target designated L+S

3.3 L&S Slaved Mode​

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.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
L+S Slaved means sharing the LOS with the target designated L+S

3.3 L&S Slaved Mode​

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.
You are quoting the SIM manual for DCS.

That simulation does not include all of the ATFLIR modes. The tracking method used for GO FAST for example (autotrack) is not simulated at all.

I think what is happening here is that this not L+S SLAVE. This is ATFLIR pointing at the L+S track. There is a difference evidently.

Those SLAVE modes are never used in any of the videos we have seen so far. Maybe because no weapons were being employed or maybe because it doesn't even work like that (those sims are accurate but to a certain extent).

None of us here is an F-18C/D pilot so we can't know. I'll ask the user who posted that tweet (he has some pilot sources) to verify this and ask for confirmation.
 

Daniel F

Member
Slave is not a mode in itself.
The icons on right mean you can slave to either launch and steering (l+s) or boresight ( bst) .

This is a quote from the host of the fighter pilot podcast who goes through the onscreen gimbal data . Around 3.20 mark -

‘ You can slave the atflir, either to your Launch and Steering (or L + S target) , or to the bore sight of the aircraft ( BST ). Now in this case we have neither, since we are tracking a target... ‘
Source: https://youtu.be/zbQdksSakE0
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
You are quoting the SIM manual for DCS.

That simulation does not include all of the ATFLIR modes. The tracking method used for GO FAST for example (autotrack) is not simulated at all.

I think what is happening here is that this not L+S SLAVE. This is ATFLIR pointing at the L+S track. There is a difference evidently.

Those SLAVE modes are never used in any of the videos we have seen so far. Maybe because no weapons were being employed or maybe because it doesn't even work like that (those sims are accurate but to a certain extent).

None of us here is an F-18C/D pilot so we can't know. I'll ask the user who posted that tweet (he has some pilot sources) to verify this and ask for confirmation.

I think in the very most recent versions auto track is now there, or it could be just the other one lightning or whatever but even though it's there it just faking it somewhat ie not using contrast detection, but I imagine simulating IR etc is really hard.

Pointing the ATFLIR at the L+S track is SLAVE mode that is the sole purpose of that mode. I raised this exact point with the Alpha Check YouTube guy who posted some videos basically saying they had L+S so they would have got IFF etc that got popular be basically agreed, said he'd would correct what he was saying in his next video then never did.
 

Daniel F

Member
Also, for what it’s worth, the guy who mentions this in the podcast above is a fighter pilot. In fact he was on nimitz at time of incident. He wasn’t involved, says he didn’t know anything about it at the time, but knows Fravor and actually interviews him about it.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I think in the very most recent versions auto track is now there, or it could be just the other one lightning or whatever but even though it's there it just faking it somewhat ie not using contrast detection, but I imagine simulating IR etc is really hard.

Pointing the ATFLIR at the L+S track is SLAVE mode that is the sole purpose of that mode. I raised this exact point with the Alpha Check YouTube guy who posted some videos basically saying they had L+S so they would have got IFF etc that got popular be basically agreed, said he'd would correct what he was saying in his next video then never did.
As I said. I think there is a difference between SLAVING the ATFLIR to the L+S track and just pointing it in the direction of the L+S track.

But I could be wrong. It is just an hypothesis based on the little I know about those systems from sims and their dialogue.

What do you think the pilots are talking about here?

Slave is not a mode in itself.
The icons on right mean you can slave to either launch and steering (l+s) or boresight ( bst) .

This is a quote from the host of the fighter pilot podcast who goes through the onscreen gimbal data . Around 3.20 mark -

‘ You can slave the atflir, either to your Launch and Steering (or L + S target) , or to the bore sight of the aircraft ( BST ). Now in this case we have neither, since we are tracking a target... ‘
Source: https://youtu.be/zbQdksSakE0
Is he an F/A-18C/D pilot/WSO?

He doesn't address the dialogue in the video unfortunately. What he is saying could be right and not contradict my hypothesis. They are not SLAVING to L+S. They are just optically tracking in the direction of the L+S track.
 

Daniel F

Member
As I said. I think there is a difference between SLAVING the ATFLIR to the L+S track and just pointing it in the direction of the L+S track.

But I could be wrong. It is just an hypothesis based on the little I know about those systems from sims and their dialogue.

What do you think the pilots are talking about here?


Is he an F/A-18C/D pilot/WSO?

He doesn't address the dialogue in the video unfortunately. What he is saying could be right and not contradict my hypothesis. They are not SLAVING to L+S. They are just optically tracking in the direction of the L+S track.
See my earlier reply. He is an f18 pilot. Was actually on Nimitz at time. Has Fravor on one episode of podcast to discuss. They know each other from their time on nimitz. Fravor was his boss.
 

Daniel F

Member
It sounds to me like
pilot - that’s not L + S is it ?
wizzo - that is L + S dude
pilot - well the flir is...
interruption by wizzo - look at that thing !
Its as if the pilot was about to explain something, possibly why he thought it wasn’t l + s, as if there is some contradiction in the data, but is cut off by wizzo. Don’t know what significance that may have but it seems the pilot was interested this point.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
See my earlier reply. He is an f18 pilot. Was actually on Nimitz at time. Has Fravor on one episode of podcast to discuss. They know each other from their time on nimitz. Fravor was his boss.
yup he was a Rhino pilot: https://www.fighterpilotpodcast.com/team/vincent-aiello/

Slave is not a mode in itself.
Irrelevant but it is. See here: https://forums.vrsimulations.com/su...Looking_Infrared_(FLIR)#Trackfile_Slaved_Mode

OK I think I have figured it out. See below with emphasis added

3.3 L&S Slaved Mode​

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.

What I think happened here:
  1. the radar picked up the tracks.
  2. The WSO selected the gimbal object on his radar screen and pointed ATFLIR at it
  3. The WSO initiated an optical track of the object (or this could be a default) therefore unboxing the L+S box just like in Inertial LOS mode (optical modes are not simulated therefore not present in the manual).
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I confirmed with Alpha check my hypothesis above. He agrees basically.

The radar is just handing off the Bearing Range and Altitude to the ATFLIR but they are not correlated beyond that.

It makes sense given what we know.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
pilot - well the flir is...
interruption by wizzo - look at that thing !
Its as if the pilot was about to explain something, possibly why he thought it wasn’t l + s, as if there is some contradiction in the data, but is cut off by wizzo. Don’t know what significance that may have but it seems the pilot was interested this point.
Agree the pilot might be saying something about the FLIR. Not sure what though.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I confirmed with Alpha check my hypothesis above. He agrees basically.

The radar is just handing off the Bearing Range and Altitude to the ATFLIR but they are not correlated beyond that.

It makes sense given what we know.
And is he an f/18 pilot?
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Doesn’t look good does it ! its an issue but you have to believe either
1. He genuinely believes that it was in tv mode and has an aura, despite having watched it probably hundreds of times and being well trained with these systems.
2. He just conflated the two videos in that moment in a simple cock up.
A third option would be that he was intentionally saying things that are not true, and is feeding the confusion. I do not assert that he IS doing that... but some folks do and it is an option to keep in mind
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It sounds to me like
pilot - that’s not L + S is it ?
wizzo - that is L + S dude
pilot - well the flir is...
interruption by wizzo - look at that thing !
Its as if the pilot was about to explain something, possibly why he thought it wasn’t l + s, as if there is some contradiction in the data, but is cut off by wizzo. Don’t know what significance that may have but it seems the pilot was interested this point.
It really can't make out what is said where you are claiming " that is L + S dude" (other than maybe the "dude")
 

jackfrostvc

Senior Member
It really can't make out what is said where you are claiming " that is L + S dude" (other than maybe the "dude")


Oddly, the only thing that I had a little trouble with is the dude. To me he does say the "That is L and S" bit.

I think he does say "That is L + S **dude?**"
 

Daniel F

Member
Oddly, the only thing that I had a little trouble with is the dude. To me he does say the "That is L and S" bit.

I think he does say "That is L + S **dude?**"
Same here. All I hear now is, ‘ that’s not l and s is it ‘ - ‘ that is l and s dude ‘
 

Alphadunk

Active Member
Agreed, seems pretty clear what they're saying. They do speak with a bit of an accent, it might sound a bit slurred to people outside of America.
 

Domzh

Active Member
The rotation of the glare depends on the angle of whatever creates the shape of the glare. The outer gimbal mounted housing is the likely candidate, since it only rotates when absolutely needed. The tracking rotations of the the mirrors is not significantly changing the shape of the glare.
Mick,
Could these artifacts be loose groups of IR particles (photons) emitted by the object itself? so when the object physically turns, it would make sense if the radiation pattern would change together with it.

have you checked other flir footage in IR mode (preferably from planes in the sky) for similar artifacts moving in sync with the actual object?

unfortunately i dont have access to my laptop otherwise i would have checked it myself.

(btw the "smudge" explanation on the window of the pod, given by the flir technician you interviewed must have been perfectly centered or otherwise it would make the object / glare appear to "hop" or rotate in a curve rather than rotating on spot, do you agree?)
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
Mick,

(btw the "smudge" explanation on the window of the pod, given by the flir technician you interviewed must have been perfectly centered or otherwise it would make the object / glare appear to "hop" or rotate in a curve rather than rotating on spot, do you agree?)
You’ll have to elaborate on this. Why do you think the smudge would have to be perfectly centered?
 

Domzh

Active Member
You’ll have to elaborate on this. Why do you think the smudge would have to be perfectly centered?
easy. take pen and paper. draw a line of an inch exactly in the center. now rotate the paper on its center. the line rotates.

now draw a similar line but way next to it, near the edge (to make the effect more pronounced). rotate it on the paper's center as before. while the line in the center rotates, the line on the outside almost makes a looping / jumps rather than rotating.

the smudge on the window therefore needs to be super symmetrical in the center if it should have caused the glare during the rotation. if the smudge is more to the side, the glare would have done a looping / jumping rotation.

do you understand what i mean?
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
easy. take pen and paper. draw a line of an inch exactly in the center. now rotate the paper on its center. the line rotates.

now draw a similar line but way next to it, near the edge (to make the effect more pronounced). rotate it on the paper's center as before. while the line in the center rotates, the line on the outside almost makes a looping / jumps rather than rotating.

the smudge on the window therefore needs to be super symmetrical in the center if it should have caused the glare during the rotation. if the smudge is more to the side, the glare would have done a looping / jumping rotation.

do you understand what i mean?
Not really. I’d have to know how the light passes through the window (camera entrance aperture size, etc.) given that the window will be far closer to a pupil plane than a focal plane. Scattered light in a system is caused by the light from the source which could fill a substantial part of the window depending on the optical design so it’s not trivial to determine the effect of a smudge on an optical surface.
 

Domzh

Active Member
Not really. I’d have to know how the light passes through the window (camera entrance aperture size, etc.) given that the window will be far closer to a pupil plane than a focal plane. Scattered light in a system is caused by the light from the source which could fill a substantial part of the window depending on the optical design so it’s not trivial to determine the effect of a smudge on an optical surface.
I fear you did not understand the whole glare rotation argument and how the flir technician Mick interviewed said it could happen. He said it happens when theres a smudge on the outside window of the gimbal. the camera sensor comes way later. the first part of the gimbal rotates after a certain degree (together with the window). when the technician is right and glare could rotate independently due to smudge on this window, then this smudge has to be perfectly centered or otherwise the glare would distort / bounce once the window section rotates.
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
I fear you did not understand the whole glare rotation argument and how the flir technician Mick interviewed said it could happen. He said it happens when theres a smudge on the outside window of the gimbal. the camera sensor comes way later. the first part of the gimbal rotates after a certain degree (together with the window). when the technician is right and glare could rotate independently due to smudge on this window, then this smudge has to be perfectly centered or otherwise the glare would distort / bounce once the window section rotates.
I admit I might not fully understand without a deeper picture of the total optical system layout. But do you understand my point about the pupil versus focal plane impacts on stray light?
 

Domzh

Active Member
its a focal plane. however you are missing the point. we are past that glare thing. the technician clearly stated it can happen when theres smudge on the window. however in order to have the effect as seen in flir1 the smudge would need to be perfectly centered and symmetrical which i highly doubt would be plausible.

im not a flir technician. if you are interested in its layout and optics, you might wanna download the manual. its available online only a google search away :)
 

jackfrostvc

Senior Member
I think if you want to look at candidates for what the Gimbal object was. Listen to what the WSO said and what TTSA with Elizondo captioned it as in the Gimbal video.
"It is a f..ng drone bro"

1623048780537.png

Combine that with:

1) Elizondo requesting the Gimbal, Go Fast and FLIR videos under the description Balloons, UAV, UAS. ie Balloons and Drones

2) NEMESIS was tested in wargames that ended in Feb 2015 having been developed on the east coast. The Gimbal video was filmed on the east coast in Jan 2015

3) NEMESIS uses fleets of drones that resemble what graves had described the Gimbal pilots saw. ie small drones and big ones

4) DARPA was heavily involved with NEMISIS who contracted core components of the program to BAE, Northdrop Grumman and 5 others

5) BAE is a self proclaimed leader in Electronic Warfare system

6) Ryan Graves leaves the NAVY and starts working with BAE. BAE is a huge company that make many diofferent things. But where does Graves show up in BAE. Why the BAE Electronic Warfare page in the last video titled "Distributed Electronic Warfare" at 23 seconds in
https://www.baesystems.com/en-us/productfamily/electronic-warfare

1623042811173.png


7) Side notes, I suspect the Tic Tac event which happened on the other side of the country in 2004 may also have been involved in some EW exercises

a) There were plenty of EW exercises in that year -> https://www.metabunk.org/threads/hypothesis-fravors-tic-tac-was-kurths-fa18.11776/#post-250441
b) The area it happened in had plenty of EW facilities -> https://www.metabunk.org/threads/fr...illusion-comparing-accounts.10941/post-249952

Also interesting that:
- Fravor left the NAVY and joined Northdrop Grumman another leader in EW and drones.
- Douglas Kurth ended up with Bigelow for a while, then joined this company, yep an EW specialist https://t3isolutions.com/services/
- The 2004 commander of the USS Louisville ended up with a company with project ties to DARPA


8) DARPA System of Systems tech development which is core to NEMISIS
https://www.defense.gov/Explore/New...open-systems-plug-and-fly-to-boost-air-power/
As I said before, two of the seven contractors for this were BAE and Northdrop Grumman

The picture shows three types of drones
a) Something that looks like this thing: https://newatlas.com/nomad-drone-public/57272/
b) Northdrop Grumman BAT UAS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_Bat
c) Northdrop Grumman X-47B: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_X-47B

If I were to guess , maybe look at whether the Northdrop Grumman X-47B fits the profile of the Gimbal. As Graves said, the GIMBAL object was the largest in the fleet

1623042883474.png


It is interesting the exhaust of the Northdrop Grumman X-47B is oval shaped

1623042577102.png

1623043051747.png

1623043166478.png
 
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