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

jackfrostvc

Active Member
One thing I find odd, is the retoric I hear that to me makes no sense.

1) It was dark therefor they couldn't see the drones.

Well, NAVY ships have big search lights on them that can light up an aircraft at 30k feet. If there were drones buzzing them at night, they surely would have spotlighted them and taken zoomed in pictures .

And don't the NAVY ships have drones of their own they could have used to check out the mystery drones?

2) They don't have anything to shoot them down, too small

Well they were supposedly 6 foot across if you believe Corbell (Yeah I know). In any event, the destroyers have machine guns and gattling guns they use to fire at close in threats. Some of these machine guns are used to shoot missiles traveling at high speed. They would make mince meat out of a 6 foot drone. Not that they are needed to shoot down a drone hovering near the ship, even farmers are able to shoot tiny DJI drones with rifles. I'm sure they have better sniper type rifles on the NAVY ships

Just two curious things I see repeated that to me, make no sense
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
Corbels description on the RADAR video says

* Unknowns were self-illuminated.

However it's not wise to shoot at things that you don't know what they are during a peacetime operation. That's how airliners get accidentally downed.
 

Alphadunk

Active Member
"Why don't they shoot at it?"

This question comes up often. Using any sort of ordinance outside of combat is highly controlled. Shooting at an unidentified target outside of combat just isn't something that happens for very obvious reasons. Also, encounters between foreign jets, ships, etc. really aren't uncommon. You can find plenty of videos of Russian jets "buzzing" ships and you can be assured most countries engage in the same sort of theatrics. Not a good idea to shoot at stuff willy nilly.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
Some more news about that drone base on San Clemente Island I had posted a while ago,

The drone base was built between 2014-2018 (rebuilt old derelict airfield) that's on San Clemente Island is called VC-3

This drone base is used to test among other things -> experimental UAS aircraft ie drones

Notice in the last slide the quadcopters used to support counter UAS training for the fleet


1622818535350.png




1622818737882.png


Source re VC-3
: https://www.dreamlandresort.com/info/san_clemente_aerial.html
 
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Alphadunk

Active Member
I don't think anyone has ever questioned whether or not San Clemente is used to launch aircraft. Is your contention that the USS Kidd situation can be explained by friendly, yet unidentified for some reason, drones?
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
I don't think anyone has ever questioned whether or not San Clemente is used to launch aircraft. Is your contention that the USS Kidd situation can be explained by friendly, yet unidentified for some reason, drones?


US experimental drones they were testing is a possibility for the drones seen. The other option is foreign drones.


But I think the sightings overall are a little more complex than that. For example the triangle video seems to be bokeh of a commercial airliner
They were also doing training exercises. For example it is now known that on that day of the 14th, the USS Kidd was firing missiles, not that it explains any of the sightings, just that stuff was going on.
 

Vertigo

New Member
A few things about drones; Im a RC/drone pilot and most of you think of multirotors when you hear the word drone. There is no point in using multirotors when you want to have significant range and endurance.

Building a remotely or autonomously controlled fixed wing drone with many hours of endurance is completely trivial even with hobby grade stuff. I made one. Less than 2 meter wing span, tiny coke can sized battery, but ~3 hours of endurance without really trying. If you where to replace the battery with a small gasoline engine, endurance could be many times higher.

Autopilot with long range telemetry/control link is just off the shelve and dirt cheap. With some directional antenna's telemetry/control range is basically unlimited if you have line of sight; getting a live video feed at extreme range is more challenging but hobbyists can achieve more than 100Km with just off the shelve gear and 1W analog transmitters that cost a few tens of dollars. Random youtube link from 6 years ago:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr3REkK-Ep8

(edit: maybe not the best example, as his FPV camera died, that white screen in the second half has nothing to do with the range of his equipment. The HUD is rendered on the plane and then transmitted as video, so if there is a HUD visible, he had a working video link)

I have flown my "drone" over sea and flew it over ships, because its just beautiful to look at. Not many warships where I live, and I would be less keen flying over those for various reasons, but Im very sure others wouldnt have the reservations I have, and I would lie if I said the idea didnt appeal to me. I do not know how military radars would affect my drone, but I have noticed no meaningful interference from commercial ship radars. Also worth pointing out that my plane, like most similar ones, is mostly made out of EPO foam and that would be completely invisible to radar. Only the battery would produce a meaningful radar return, and maybe the (finger thick) carbon spars at certain angles, but you can use wood or fiberglass too. A combustion engine drone would be even harder to see on radar I think, those motors are metal but roughly the size of a golfbal.

As for hovering; my drone can fly slower than 30KmH, which is probably not far off the cruising speed of warships. It would be easy to appear to be hovering over it, without even factoring in any headwinds.

You can also buy off the shelve long range VTOL drones, like this one :
https://shop.righthere.nu/rov-uav-uas-fpv-platforms/-mfd-1900-crosswind-vtol-test.html
which blends a fixed wing and multirotor in to one. It can take off and land vertically, or hover as it is a multirotor, while maintaining most of the efficiency of a fixed wing while cruising. Hobbyists have been making their own for at least a decade, I built one from scratch almost 15 years ago, though there is absolutely no need for this if your goal is "hovering" over a naval battle group.

One last thought; a hobby drone like that would be emitting RF signals, and if I can pick them up at 100+Km, I can only a assume a naval battle group can too. But I have no idea what frequencies they monitor. For telemetry and control, off the shelve drones usually use 2.4 GHz frequency hopping, but long range FPV enthusiasts more typically use 433 or 868 Mhz on fixed frequencies. Same frequency your garage door opener probably uses. Transmit power on the plane is on the order of 100mW and omnidirectional. For long range (analog) video, 1.2GHz is popular, but other frequencies are used too. TX power is typically 100 to 1000mW and again omnidirectional although its not too hard to put a high gain antenna on a gimbal and have it point to the receiver home and some people have done this.

Hobbyist gear doesnt use any encryption or frequency hopping (aside from 2.4 Ghz), it would be trivial for a warship to listen in on its emissions and even render the live video feed and reconstruct the telemetry data. Even any other hobbyist with compatible gear can listen in by selecting the right channel. Is the navy doing this? No idea, but they should. Not just on warships, in any potential conflict zone the military would probably want to know if a drone, even a hobby drone, is nearby or overhead which is why i would assume they do this. (Then again, I never heard of them complaining of civilian drones being detected nearby and I have not heard of this being used near airports -civilian or military- even when there where visual spottings. )

If I where to do this, if I wanted to capture some video of warship using my drone, I would want to avoid being caught and I would disable both and just a set up an autonomous waypoint mission and not transmit any video or telemetry. Thats assuming I somehow knew where those ships where. More likely i would use both until I found the ships, then i would set up a waypoint mission overhead and "return to home" (using GPS and compass, which are passive), turning off all RF emissions to reduce the odds of being tracked home and getting a knock on the door.

If i had any more skills and budget, and I wanted to do it "properly", Id add some intelligence to the drone to detect ships autonomously without requiring a live video feed or telemetry link. I think this is out of reach of 95% of hobbyists, but for a state actor or even a commercial entity, this should be easy, fly a grid, find ships using visual or infrared, or just homing in on radar emissions and then go take some video or collect other data. I wouldnt be surprised if there are commercial solutions for this available for search and rescue and other purposes.
 
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NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Just saw this:

Article:
After intense public speculation, stacks of official documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act, ambiguous statements from top officials, and an avalanche of media attention, it has now been made clear that the mysterious swarming of U.S. Navy ships off the Southern California coast in 2019 was caused by drones, not otherworldly UFOs or other mysterious craft. Raising even more questions, a similar drone swarm event has occurred off another coast, as well. These revelations came from top Department of Defense officials during a recent and much-anticipated house hearing on UFOs, which you can read all about here.


Sounds like maybe they thought it was drones all along, but wanted to see if the effect had been replicate to be sure?

Article:
Scott Bray, deputy director of Naval Intelligence, played a video of one of the 2019 incidents in his opening remarks as an example of a solved UAP case. Mr. Bray explained that the footage from the 2019 event was “unresolved for several years.” After an entirely separate series of drone swarm events occurred "off a different coast,” the Navy was able to compare night vision footage and other data to determine that both incidents were caused by drones. Bray characterized their level of certainty as “reasonably confident,” and explained in later testimony that the group in charge of investigating the event was aware of studies that had replicated the relevant conditions.


And that Mick West guy got mentioned:

Article:
Bray stated that the aperture mechanism of the night vision scope created an optical effect responsible for the triangular appearance of the drones. Similar conclusions were reached by civilians shortly after the video was first leaked, notably by Mick West, who frequently analyzes purported UFO cases.
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
Just saw this:

Article:
After intense public speculation, stacks of official documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act, ambiguous statements from top officials, and an avalanche of media attention, it has now been made clear that the mysterious swarming of U.S. Navy ships off the Southern California coast in 2019 was caused by drones, not otherworldly UFOs or other mysterious craft. Raising even more questions, a similar drone swarm event has occurred off another coast, as well. These revelations came from top Department of Defense officials during a recent and much-anticipated house hearing on UFOs, which you can read all about here.


Sounds like maybe they thought it was drones all along, but wanted to see if the effect had been replicate to be sure?

Article:
Scott Bray, deputy director of Naval Intelligence, played a video of one of the 2019 incidents in his opening remarks as an example of a solved UAP case. Mr. Bray explained that the footage from the 2019 event was “unresolved for several years.” After an entirely separate series of drone swarm events occurred "off a different coast,” the Navy was able to compare night vision footage and other data to determine that both incidents were caused by drones. Bray characterized their level of certainty as “reasonably confident,” and explained in later testimony that the group in charge of investigating the event was aware of studies that had replicated the relevant conditions.


And that Mick West guy got mentioned:

Article:
Bray stated that the aperture mechanism of the night vision scope created an optical effect responsible for the triangular appearance of the drones. Similar conclusions were reached by civilians shortly after the video was first leaked, notably by Mick West, who frequently analyzes purported UFO cases.
They needed to separate the bokeh effect from the object, and they could have done it earlier given they would be able to get the exact equipment used. I still think it is more likely that the original video is an airliner than a drone. Not saying there were not also drones around but I think Mick's further analysis of that video shows a plane is more likely.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
Over at reddit, of course the general response is "we don't trust it, they are lying".
This proves to me we will never progress. In no way will strong believers allow any other explanation and so the story will continue for the next x decades, surely.
 
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jackfrostvc

Active Member
Over at reddit, of course the general response is "we don't trust it, they are lying".
This proves to me we will never progress. In no way will strong believers allow any other explanation and so the story will continue for the next x decades, surely.

Brandolini's law is never more true than in UFOology

"The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it."
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Over at reddit, of course the general response is "we don't trust it, they are lying".
This proves to me we will never progress. In no way will strong believers allow any other explanation and so the story will continue for the next x decades, surely.
Makes me wonder what effect a similar reveal for GIMBAL etc would have
 

Brian Dunning

New Member
I skimmed The Drive article this morning. The Drive pisses me off... they always start with the most extraordinary explanation, and present it as "now proven" and allow no room for alternate explanations.

I'm still not persuaded by the "drones with all their lights turned on to attract attention" against a backdrop of incoming Transpac airliners. The photos in the article though are interesting and thought provoking, at least that one is.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Over at reddit, of course the general response is "we don't trust it, they are lying".
This proves to me we will never progress. In no way will strong believers allow any other explanation and so the story will continue for the next x decades, surely.
This isn't about belief in UFOs. I've read lots of science fiction and would find a contact with an extraterrestrial civilisation exciting, as do the people at NASA who fitted the Voyager probes with human messages.

This is simply about what types of evidence we're willing to accept, with one type of person being sceptical of governments but ready to believe anyone who claims they saw something, and the other type being much more sceptical about uncorroborated reports and potential hoaxes and more accepting of official investigations.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
This proves to me we will never progress. In no way will strong believers allow any other explanation and so the story will continue for the next x decades, surely.
You guys that spend time on Reddit with the UFOlogests have a much stronger constitution than I do. In essence it's the same as religious faith. They don't want to, and will not, listen to anything counter to their faith. A friend of ours, whenever the Morman's of Jehovah's Witness stop by and want to "share their teachings", she invites them in, as long as she can share some of her teachings in kind. Of course, it doesn't work that way, only their teachings are correct. Seems the same for many a UFOlogist.
 

LilWabbit

Active Member
Even without the recent TheDrive article and Scott Bray's revelations confirming the drone test, we've analyzed here at Metabunk the evidence on several threads earlier with similar conclusions:

(1) The proximity of the mid-July 2019 UAP sightings by USS Omaha, USS Kidd, USS Rafael Peralta, USS Russell, USS John Finn and cruise ship Carnival Imagination to the San Clemente UAV/drone base while also reporting seeing swarms of "drones"/"UAV" through 14-15 July 2019

(2) The Navy, already in 2017, highlighting the importance of putting new technologies and tactics into fleet experimentation (tests) more quickly

(3) The USS Omaha navigational radar readings being within the capability parameters of known UAV technology, and probably well within the parameters of cutting-edge experimental UAV capability

(4) The existence, since 2014, of the classified NEMESIS program which addresses the need "to generate the appearance of a realistic naval force to multiple adversarial surveillance and targeting sensors simultaneously", using, amongst other things, reconfigurable and modular EW payloads, Distributed Decoy and Jammer Swarms (DDJS), effective acoustic countermeasures (CM), and Multiple Input/Multiple Output Sensor/CM (MIMO S/CM) for false force generation to both above and below water sensors

(5) The USS Omaha basic navigational radar (also commercially available) being a vulnerable target for false fleet signatures when using cutting-edge experimental electronic warfare technology

(6) The ability to surprise, distract and overwhelm the enemy, including during fleet exercises, being the main purpose of drone swarms designed for tactical deception

(7) Taken together, single out as the likeliest hypothesis a Navy electronic warfare test using drone swarms and signature management conducted as part of a broader mid-July 2019 Navy fleet experiment.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
It is certainly big confidence that this all happened so close to San Clemente.

The thing for me that I am still unsure of is, is this a very "real world" exercise but we are unable to tell because the released documents are missing that context and because it was a very real world exercise it looks like a real event from the accompanying documentation etc, or is it a real drone event actually perpetrated by a foreign power? Or a mix of both. The mentioning of the civilian vessel Bass Strait, would seem to indicate a real event, but it is possible that ship was part of the exercise... Or mistakenly implicated during the exercise?

Also there seems to be some issue that the Navy also has that during these events/exercises they also seem to possibly mis-id commercial flights as part of the drone event, in a very similar way to the public drone flap events, where every light in the sky is suddenly a drone.

I think it's most likely that the "Corbell Triangle" is a plane, as per Mick's analysis but the Navy seems to consider it a drone? (or do they not and the Bray testimony was just not clear, i.e. triangle 2 is a drone and triangle 1 is not, because an out of focus bright light through a triangle aperture is a triangle regardless of the source of the light) And now this FLIR cam image which looks like an airliner with the classic dual underslung engines which I am fairly sure is not used by any fixed wing drones (insert rampant speculation here about a Chinese drone that looks like a 737..)
 
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Brian Dunning

New Member
Mick, I note that this drone photo and your overlaid airliner are both FLIR shots (logos at top left and bottom right). The distribution of heat along the underside of the wing looks too even to me; I'd expect nothing more than a small hotspot at the aft of the engine. Well, obviously I must be wrong.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Mick, I note that this drone photo and your overlaid airliner are both FLIR shots (logos at top left and bottom right). The distribution of heat along the underside of the wing looks too even to me; I'd expect nothing more than a small hotspot at the aft of the engine. Well, obviously I must be wrong.
It's going to depend on the sensitivity of the camera and glare etc.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Mick, I note that this drone photo and your overlaid airliner are both FLIR shots (logos at top left and bottom right). The distribution of heat along the underside of the wing looks too even to me; I'd expect nothing more than a small hotspot at the aft of the engine. Well, obviously I must be wrong.
Yeah, it's glare. Radiation spread in-camera around the very "bright" hotspots of the engines. Like in the Chilean case, and Gimbal.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Mick, I note that this drone photo and your overlaid airliner are both FLIR shots (logos at top left and bottom right). The distribution of heat along the underside of the wing looks too even to me; I'd expect nothing more than a small hotspot at the aft of the engine. Well, obviously I must be wrong.
Certainly doesn't look like a quadcopter. The ship these drones were launched from is the Bass Straight, the Navy provided an IR image that is hot in more places you'd expect as well (from thedrive, link above):
image23.png
Daylight picture:
BASS_STRAIT.jpg
If the drone is a winged exemplar, where would you launch it from, what kind of engine(s) does it have, and where would it be hot?
 

Brian Dunning

New Member
Photos of drones always have hotspots out at the extremities where the motors are. I took these shots just now of my DJI using a FLIR One Pro.

Closer.jpg

Medium.jpg
Far-away.jpg
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
Having said that, the triangle bokeh footage being a drone rather than a plane confuses me too.

thought they said the incident was a drone incident, and the bokeh was an artifact of the camera sensor (bokeh). ie not necesaarily that the object was a drone, but captured during a drone incident.
I will probably need to go back and listen to that bit carefully and check what was exactly said
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
especially if they're winged drones and not quadcopters, the military fixed-wing drones have better range than quadcopters, and look similar to the drone close-up image (I have no idea how they look on IR, though). Not requiring a big ship to be where you want to stage a deception feels like a must-have for these operations to be successful.
Because the exercise includes the aspect of the enemy not having a convenient drone base nearby and thus conducting the operation from a civilian ship
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Because the exercise includes the aspect of the enemy not having a convenient drone base nearby and thus conducting the operation from a civilian ship
if they're using quadcopters, they ought to use a much smaller boat, and be less visible/trackable
if they're using winged drones, the base ship can be farther away (and ought to be)
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member

jackfrostvc

Active Member
Your idea is that experimental drones are tested by buzzing active duty Navy ships with swarms of them, without notice?
As I said, it's an option along with foreign drones.
As for a test , if it were also to see how the fleet would react to a drone swarm, giving notice would kind of defeat the purpose

BTW:
1) The drone base on San Clemente BTW is where they fly experimental small drones from
2) they were in the area of UAS OPEREAS

The SOCAL range complex is also where they test the fleet for all manner of scenarios. To either test new weapons, systems, tactics, responces etc.

1655273111584.png

1655272805157.png
 
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jackfrostvc

Active Member
well, SEAL training isn't "land only" either, but neither is it open sea, where the Bass Straight was?
Therre are also other drones for all sorts of tasks , a snapshot of this is seen in the UAS OPEREAS pic I posted earlier.
Includes quad copter drones used for countrer UAS training by the fleet, and all sorts of other drones (and capabilities)
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
While we're on possibilities It's also possible it was a exercise and they used the Bass Strait as a patsy, or as a unintended result of the exercise the Bass Strait was just in the "wrong place at the wrong time" and implicated incorrectly.

I do find the issue interesting, which is more likely "seemingly bold Chinese spying operation in a US Navy training area off the coast of the continental USA" or a "full scale 'without notice' (possibly senior officers were aware it was an exercise but not the SNOOPIE etc crew) drone swam exercise, possibly using a civilian ship (unwittingly or not)"

Possibly a real Chinese operation is less likely to see the documents unclassified under FOIA?
 
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