USS Kidd (and other Ships) "Drones" Encounter, 2019

jarlrmai

Active Member
Not at the altitudes reported.



Just reaching high altitudes would be a significant hassle for a battery powered ship launched drone.They normally fly for minutes if they need to reach such altitudes. Forget 90 min.

Battery breakthrough definitely required with the current publicly known tech.

P.s. Or with an "exotic" design such as a dirigible kinda thing. So something like a small blimp that stays up in a non propulsive way.

That drone is a helicopter style not quadcopter so it's performance might be different to a quadcopter.
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
Not at the altitudes reported.



Just reaching high altitudes would be a significant hassle for a battery powered ship launched drone.They normally fly for minutes if they need to reach such altitudes. Forget 90 min.

Battery breakthrough definitely required with the current publicly known tech.

P.s. Or with an "exotic" design such as a dirigible kinda thing. So something like a small blimp that stays up in a non propulsive way.
You make a lot of claims. Some evidence would be nice. Can you point to a source that outlines the limitations? Heany555 linked to a source that claims 100+ minute endurance.
 
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gtoffo

Member
You make a lot of claims. Some evidence would be nice. Can you point to a source that outlines the limitations? Heany555 linked to a source that claims 100+ minute endurance.
As you can see from the video posted above by Mick. The endurance of a consumer drone flying at high altitudes is a couple of minutes.

The helicopter style is more efficient (one engine versus 4 of a quadcopter) so it can achieve longer endurance at sea level. However, the higher you go the less you fly no matter the setup.

You obviously need more energy to climb. I don't think you need a source for that.
Also the air becomes less dense and you need more power to achieve lift with propellers.

To achieve longer endurance you need wings and speed or balloons or more dense energy sources such as jet fuel.
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
As you can see from the video posted above by Mick. The endurance of a consumer drone flying at high altitudes is a couple of minutes.

The helicopter style is more efficient (one engine versus 4 of a quadcopter) so it can achieve longer endurance at sea level. However, the higher you go the less you fly no matter the setup.

You obviously need more energy to climb. I don't think you need a source for that.
Also the air becomes less dense and you need more power to achieve lift with propellers.

To achieve longer endurance you need wings and speed or balloons or more dense energy sources such as jet fuel.
You made claims to extraordinary technology. Military technology can achieve those durations as was linked to by Heany555.
 

gtoffo

Member
You made claims to extraordinary technology. Military technology can achieve those durations as was linked to by Heany555.
Not really.

As you will notice the Anduril Ghost linked does not state a maximum altitude. It is meant to fly at low level.
Being a helicopter it is intrinsically unable to fly very high. The higher you fly the less dense the air gets. So propellers don't work as well.

And normal quadcopters struggle to reach altitudes of more than a couple 1000 meters max for very short durations. I suggest you read the link I posted previously about the max height a drone can reach: https://www.technik-consulting.eu/en/analysis/drone.html

Also, sustaining a hover at high altitudes is extremely hard with propellers. Even a jet powered helicopter struggles hovering at high altitudes (and in general with flight at high altitudes).
Turbine-engined helicopters can reach around 25,000 feet. But the maximum height at which a helicopter can hover is much lower - a high performance helicopter like the Agusta A109E can hover at 10,400 feet
https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-2666,00.html#:~:text=Turbine-engined helicopters can reach,can hover at 10,400 feet.

When hovering a helicopter loses substantial lift and requires a lot more power.

If a hover was sustained for hours at high altitudes the only current tech I can think of is the good old balloon.

A regular balloon would not be able to move "fast" though:
Dave: What did they look like?
Dave: Did they make noise


We couldn't really see them - just red and green lights. They were pretty fast and far away so definitely not consumer drones

Dave: How did they know for sure it was drones? Cause of the running lights on them?

Yeah and the guys manning the radars and stuff could see they were really small
Fitting every bit of info we have with current tech and understanding why the Navy was not able to identify this is not obvious.
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member

Not really.

As you will notice the Anduril Ghost linked does not state a maximum altitude. It is meant to fly at low level.
Being a helicopter it is intrinsically unable to fly very high. The higher you fly the less dense the air gets. So propellers don't work as well.

And normal quadcopters struggle to reach altitudes of more than a couple 1000 meters max for very short durations. I suggest you read the link I posted previously about the max height a drone can reach: https://www.technik-consulting.eu/en/analysis/drone.html

Also, sustaining a hover at high altitudes is extremely hard with propellers. Even a jet powered helicopter struggles hovering at high altitudes (and in general with flight at high altitudes).

https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-2666,00.html#:~:text=Turbine-engined helicopters can reach,can hover at 10,400 feet.

When hovering a helicopter loses substantial lift and requires a lot more power.

If a hover was sustained for hours at high altitudes the only current tech I can think of is the good old balloon.

A regular balloon would not be able to move "fast" though:

Fitting every bit of info we have with current tech and understanding why the Navy was not able to identify this is not obvious.
The only reference to altitude I see is that they "were really high" and flew through cloud cover. As cloud cover in that part of the coast can be really low that's not very definitive.
 

gtoffo

Member


The only reference to altitude I see is that they "were really high" and flew through cloud cover. As cloud cover in that part of the coast can be really low that's not very definitive.
Yes we don't have enough data for anything in this case.

My assumptions are valid if this was hovering at "high altitudes" (couple of km is sufficient) for a long time and then "moving fast". An exotic design (inflatable/deflatable balloon + fixed wing) might also explain it. Or something else entirely.

But anything of the sort should be identified easily by the Navy's sensors.... all very puzzling.
 

Easy Muffin

New Member
The log decks make it look like standard practice for the ships was to go 'River City 1' emissions control status. I'm not sure how many of those sensors were active at the time.
 

gtoffo

Member
The log decks make it look like standard practice for the ships was to go 'River City 1' emissions control status. I'm not sure how many of those sensors were active at the time.
No no no.

Sensors are how you stay alive. You never turn them off when you are in a tin can in the middle of the sea with no visibility and enemies around. A primary goal of any naval force is to maintain situational awareness and to establish total control over an area.

"River city 1" is an operations security (OPSEC) protocol: https://www.marines.mil/Portals/1/MCWP 3-40.9.pdf
Prevent the adversary from detecting an indicator. A primary OPSEC goal is to mask or control friendly actions to prevent the collection of CI or indicators. This includes the use of protective measures to create closed information systems, use cryptographic protection, and standardized security procedures. COMSEC and COMPUSEC are effective deterrents that prevent indicator detection. Another OPSEC tool that limits communications is River City. River City conditions provide procedures to control outgoing paths from ships and shore systems (e-mail, web browsing, POTS, cell phones) for the purpose of OPSEC and force protection. Prior to commencing sensitive planning or operations that could be compromised by inadvertent communications/information release, a River City condition should be considered with the following guidance. River City is an OPSEC countermeasure. Implementation of River City requires commands to develop a prioritized information systems users list that identifies users by their need to access systems to perform mission essential duties. The list should not be solely based on rank or pay grade, but based on function, and placed into an appropriate user group to support mission accomplishment. Those users who do not require access to systems to support mission planning or accomplishment should be grouped accordingly. (A complete list of River City conditions can be found in Navy-wide operation task IO.) Physical security may also become involved to thwart access by foreign human intelligence agents.
They didn't want sailors sending videos of unknown stuff (possibly enemies, possibly a friendly black project) home probably. I think a reasonable procedure in such a case.

The reaction was the opposite of turning everything off: deploy SNOOPY teams and collect as much as possible. Throw everything you have to make a positive identification. They have everything they could possible have on those objects: radar, IR, radio, sonar, visible spectrum photos and videos for sure. We just can't see them as they are classified for obvious reasons. This was not a "quick event" where they didn't have time to record and document. SNOOPY teams are there exactly to record and document everything to provide data for subsequent study.
 
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Easy Muffin

New Member
Ah, sorry, I got the terminology mixed up there. I was referring to this part of the blog post
This is noted throughout many of the logs as "River City 1." During the events, the ships often engaged “emissions control,” or EMCON, protocols designed to minimize their electronic emissions profile.
Specifically the last sentence. I take this to mean they enforced both River City comms restrictions plus a number of EMCON protocols, which might have affected a number of their active sensors.
 

Easy Muffin

New Member
This is a good analysis pointing towards military drones (probably form China): https://sofrep.com/amp/news/navy-knows-more-about-2019-mystery-drones-incident-than-it-says/
The Navy vessels immediately set for Emissions Control or “EMCON.” Under EMCON anything emitting any electromagnetic signals aboard the ship, like radios and radar, is turned off and the ship goes dark. The question then becomes, why did the ships shut off all their emitters? The answer is two-fold.

First, this reduces the emissions signature of the vessels which can otherwise be detected many miles away by their radios and radars’ transmissions. It’s obvious the Navy ships were depriving these mystery drones of any ability to detect and record their frequencies for later analysis by whoever launched them.
This is essentially what I've been trying to say in my posts (albeit much more succintly put!).
 

AZshot

New Member
I just joined to debunk some of the assumptions about Navy shipborne operations. As a former Electronic Warfare Technician, I was in charge of EMCON conditions on my ship (a tin can). Radiation is commonly turned off so we can steam undetected. Then you are back to just 3 sensors in the dark. ESM (detecting other radars - good for azimuth but not range detection), Sonar (similar, under water azimuth location), and lookouts. The officers hated Emcon, and would try to "sneak a peak" and turn on a radar for a couple minutes to check out what a lookout saw. And my EW system would instantly detect them, and call the bridge to shut it down. We would often cross entire oceans, totally with everything turned off so the enemy couldn't see us. There was no super secret method to avoid ships....we just used lookouts. Barely trained cooks and such, but remarkably few collisions at sea. Though I was involved with one in a battle group once. Yes, we were in Emcon.

A Snoopy team is a glorified lookout. How do I know? I was one of those too. I had the ships cameras, ran the darkroom, and took many photos of Soviet ships, planes, and surfaced subs back in the 80s when I was in. Was I highly trained to photograph? Um...no. The guy leaving the ship gave me the camera kit, showed me the darkroom, and left. 15 min talk, I was on the team! But as an EW I knew a lot about Intel, that's kind of what we do.

Strange lights at sea happen. It's no big deal. Today if the TAO or bridge officers were concerned about it, they would have lit off the surface and air search radars. Maybe they did.

And the "high altitude" discussion is kind of silly too. A few thousand feet is low altitude, VFR rules stuff. 15,000 or higher? You won't see a drone. Maybe it's lights....maybe. So it's a paradox, either the drone wasn't that high, or it was something else. But we'd commonly have helos and LARGE target drones fly over us at 5,000 feet or so. And you can see them well in the day. At night...nothing but lights.
 

gtoffo

Member
I just joined to debunk some of the assumptions about Navy shipborne operations. As a former Electronic Warfare Technician, I was in charge of EMCON conditions on my ship (a tin can). Radiation is commonly turned off so we can steam undetected. Then you are back to just 3 sensors in the dark. ESM (detecting other radars - good for azimuth but not range detection), Sonar (similar, under water azimuth location), and lookouts. The officers hated Emcon, and would try to "sneak a peak" and turn on a radar for a couple minutes to check out what a lookout saw. And my EW system would instantly detect them, and call the bridge to shut it down. We would often cross entire oceans, totally with everything turned off so the enemy couldn't see us. There was no super secret method to avoid ships....we just used lookouts. Barely trained cooks and such, but remarkably few collisions at sea. Though I was involved with one in a battle group once. Yes, we were in Emcon.

A Snoopy team is a glorified lookout. How do I know? I was one of those too. I had the ships cameras, ran the darkroom, and took many photos of Soviet ships, planes, and surfaced subs back in the 80s when I was in. Was I highly trained to photograph? Um...no. The guy leaving the ship gave me the camera kit, showed me the darkroom, and left. 15 min talk, I was on the team! But as an EW I knew a lot about Intel, that's kind of what we do.

Strange lights at sea happen. It's no big deal. Today if the TAO or bridge officers were concerned about it, they would have lit off the surface and air search radars. Maybe they did.

And the "high altitude" discussion is kind of silly too. A few thousand feet is low altitude, VFR rules stuff. 15,000 or higher? You won't see a drone. Maybe it's lights....maybe. So it's a paradox, either the drone wasn't that high, or it was something else. But we'd commonly have helos and LARGE target drones fly over us at 5,000 feet or so. And you can see them well in the day. At night...nothing but lights.
Interesting thanks.

In this case entering EMCON would mean the intel guys were trying to collect signals from the drones or were afraid the drones would snoop their own signals right? Or do you think there could be another reason in such a scenario.
 

AZshot

New Member
You turn off your radars so others can't detect you, or learn their parameters. Just like when police radar started being "instant on", those with radar detectors didn't know the cop was over the hill. If you blast it out all the time, you can be picked up from very far away. If they were in EMCON it was because that was the mode they were in that night for training. USN sailors that do Elint can still collect it whether the radars are on of off.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This relates to the "Pyramid" thread, and I originally posted it on Twitter:

I'm starting to think the recent US Navy drone flap might actually have more misidentified aircraft than I suspected. @Manning123Sm asked me to check the air traffic around the USS Russell sightings, Jul 15 2019, @21:40 local time PDT. I didn't expect much. Used this log pageEylmFSsUYAApFYB.jpg


So I was surprised when entering the Russell's lat/lon of 32° 33.3'N, 119° 35.2' W, that it was EXACTLY in line with the incoming pacific traffic. Like about a mile off most of the planes. So they were going straight for it. So would look like they were hovering.
Eyl2TqXUcAoWpmT.jpg

And the initial shot from the pyramid video, it shows at least three lights, with the higher ones brighter. Exactly what you would expect looking towards the oncoming traffic.Eyl2zmVUcAMOoAZ.jpg

then the "pyramid" that flies past with its blinking navigation lights. That's also exactly what you'd expect from a plane flying past within a mile or so. nearly overhead. People mistake that type of thing for drones.

And it's happened before, Jan 2, 2020 in colorado. Reported by local law enforcement, including the Sherrif, who misidentified a 737 at 23,000 feet as a drone at 500 feet. Maybe heightened alertness and weather conditions made people find drones when they looked for them.


Relevant video:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akn0VbZHJj8
 

gtoffo

Member
I think this is an interesting "coincidence" and one that might explain some of the lights observed/videos.

However: if this was the only phenomena observed, and given the equipment available, the utter incompetence required for the Navy to consider this unknown and even to start an investigation would be unimaginable.

We know from the emails that confusion lasted at least days and that an investigation was launched.

An airliner (or more) would have been the first thing they would have seen on all radar recordings and they would have excluded them.

But I am assuming the Navy is competent at what they do. I might be wrong.
But this would be spectacular failure by the most powerful armed force in the world (with nuclear weapons at their disposal!!!) or purposeful misinformation.
 

Ravi

Member
But I am assuming the Navy is competent at what they do. I might be wrong.
But this would be spectacular failure by the most powerful armed force in the world (with nuclear weapons at their disposal!!!) or purposeful misinformation.

How stupid it may sound, but I think this can be one of the explanations. What if the Navy wants the "enemy" to believe they cannot detect simple things?
 

Mauro

Member
And one wonders why enemy high-tech spy drones would sport green and red lights like normal airplanes. Misidentified ordinary phenomena, q.e.d.
 
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