What is the aircraft shown in the new FOIA release from The Drive

jarlrmai

Senior Member
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...assed-navy-ships-demystified-in-new-documents

This new image release from The Drive is apparently a drone that was filmed as part of a drone swarm event

View attachment image12.webp

The problem is it looks more like a normal airliner because of the central heat source (underslung jet engines) most fixed wing drones have propellers and most (all?) jet drones have a single centrally mounted jet engine.

A per this comparison posted by Mick

1654968783759.png

Are there any more clues we can get from either working out what FLIR camera system this is, or by comparing it to the images of the civilian vessel Bass Strait that were also taken with the same system.

View attachment image25.webpView attachment image24.webpView attachment image23.webp
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
Oh it seems webp's don't work embedded, they do in preview..

I will jpeg convert and upload later.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Here's a loop showing the comparison in context


The angle isn't perfect, but it's hard to see it as something else - unless someone can find a UAV that would look similar.
 

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flarkey

Senior Member
Now with Audio which includes time and location data.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBwLtXqcA04



YouTube Transcript.
this is uss paul hamilton collecting visual information today's date is 30 july 2019 zulu time is zero nine three zero we're in vicinity of three two five four three six one north one one nine two eight nine seven two west on course two seven zero at speed five knots there are multiple uas and vicinity of paul hamilton cpa 100 feet in altitude off the bow.

30 July 2019 0930Z. Location 32.54361N 119.28972 W
https://www.google.com/maps/place/32°32'37.0"N+119°17'23.0"W/@32.5898231,-119.573943,9z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x8948c58463016daf!8m2!3d32.54361!4d-119.28972

1655373506557.png
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
The video looks more like a commercial airliner than ever, I assume you tried to find a flight? I wonder if 341 is a compass heading? the little circle with the line is interesting, perhaps that is ownship bearing indicator?

I'd love to know what FLIR system that is then maybe we can get a manual or sim and get an FOV for "NARROW"
 

flarkey

Senior Member
The video looks more like a commercial airliner than ever, I assume you tried to find a flight?

My FlightRadar24 account only goes back 365 days, and ADSBexchange is only back to about Sept 2019. We need someone with a FlightRadar24 Business account to check as it offers 3 years of playback data. The only person I know with business account is @Mick West

I guess the 'circle with line' is the camera orientation relative to the ships bearing, which I assume is "up" on the video.

CPA is 'Closest Point of Approach'.
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
In these frames at the end it seems to pass in front of a cloud/fog bank which obscures the airframe and shows only, presumably the engines.
1655383246815.png
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
My FlightRadar24 account only goes back 365 days, and ADSBexchange is only back to about Sept 2019. We need someone with a FlightRadar24 Business account to check as it offers 3 years of playback data. The only person I know with business account is @Mick West

I guess the 'circle with line' is the camera orientation relative to the ships bearing, which I assume is "up" on the video.

CPA is 'Closest Point of Approach'.
So the ship is said to be on course 270

"on course two seven zero"

so "up" is west then the camera is looking SSW, which doesn't tally with the 300 number being look direction in degrees, but it does if it is the exact opposite...

Also it says off the bow but if up is front of ship the camera is looking more amidships/stern.

1655383936546.png
 

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flarkey

Senior Member
So the ship is said to be on course 270

"on course two seven zero"

so "up" is west then the camera is looking SSW, which doesn't tally with the 300 number being look direction in degrees, but it does if it is the exact opposite...

Also it says off the bow but if up is front of ship the camera is looking more amidships/stern.

Could it be indicating the movement of the camera, kinda like a mouse trail? It also seems to move down slightly over the 21 seconds of the video.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Check my math here

If the 300 number is degrees and it makes sense it is, whether it's N relative or ownship relative

The objects is (loosely) tracked from 338.1 to 344.2 degrees so 6.1 degrees, if that is degrees azimuth then it makes sense that the other number is elevation angle which goes from 13.1 to 13.3 degrees, but the object is not tracked well so a lot variability here comes from the movement of the camera by the operator so it seems fairly steady at ~13 degrees.

If it is as 100 feet up (30.48m) then it is 444ft (135.5m) away (direct line of sight) with an elevation of 13 degrees

If it traverses 6.1 degrees at this distance then it is covering 47 feet (14.42m)? in 19-20 seconds. That seems very slow, but I may have messed up the math.

The same math for a plane say at 30,000 feet would be doing 484mph which seems more realistic...
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
0930Z on 30 July 2019:
2022-06-16_09-37-23.jpg
2022-06-16_09-40-52.jpg


That's the only plane that shows up, but it's 100 miles away, behind San Clemente, and off the stern (back) not the bow (front) (assuming they are facing at 277°)
 
D

Deleted member 16321

Guest
Looks more like a drone to me, especially the end of the video
I think it's foggy, and it is at 100 feet
Agree. Just can't see the large jet. Not sure what a drone looks like in IR but, for me, it looks like a quad copter from a low angle. Maybe a bit like this.

FVU9nEAWYAwD7P--2.jpeg
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Source: https://tinyurl.com/mr3vje8z (it was a massive URL).
Metabunk is smart about massive URLs.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/scien...?ref=pdf_download&fr=RR-2&rr=71c720130f469290
(This was just me pasting the full URL, the abbreviation is automatic.)

Also, you can usually cut the question mark and everything after, for https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352146517311043

And for the pro option, use the article=URL tag.
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
But...

Night-time Detection of UAVs using Thermal Infrared Camera​

Screenshot 2022-06-16 at 22.40.40.png
Source: https://tinyurl.com/mr3vje8z (it was a massive URL).
Sure but the IR image looks nothing like that, you can see what looks like a tail section with vertical stabiliser and a nose section and then heat sources where underslung jet engines would be with what look like a wingtip poking out where a wing would be expected..

1655452239390.png
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The Paul Hamilton is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer which is said to be equipped with

The Mk 46 electro-optical unit uses a visual-spectrum camera and an infrared sensor to detect and track close-range targets that may not be visible on radar. It also feeds information into the Mk 45 gun’s fire control system and assists with aiming.

https://whitefleet.net/2017/07/31/the-arleigh-burke-class-destroyer-ddg-51-an-in-depth-guide/

This system has a pamphlet overview here

https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/11785122/mk46-mod-1-optical-sight-system-l-3-communications

1655453251246.png

Narrow FOV is shown in the video

1655453274301.png

gives a 0.9 V x 1.2 H FOV

It is possible though there are other FLIR camera systems in use on the ship.
 
D

Deleted member 16321

Guest
the IR image looks nothing like that
I agree, but my point is that here's a study that says the complete opposite of what you said in [#18]. It concludes with,
  • Main source of heat are batteries, not motors.
So in IR how do we distinguish underslung engines versus batteries?
you can see what looks like
"looks like" is problematic. I think this is like a new version of The Dress. Once you think it looks like one thing it's very difficult to see it as another. For me the "tail section" and "nose" look like the rotor arms of a hovering drone.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I agree, but my point is that here's a study that says the complete opposite of what you said in [#18]. It concludes with,

So in IR how do we distinguish underslung engines versus batteries?

"looks like" is problematic. I think this is like a new version of The Dress. Once you think it looks like one thing it's very difficult to see it as another. For me the "tail section" and "nose" look like the rotor arms of a hovering drone.
Okay but you can see there are also, possibly lesser heat sources on the rotors, there does not appear to be a heat source at the end of the "rotor arm"

I take your point about seeing it one way but that outline looks very much like a plane it has the proportions, shape and the features in all the right places and at the right brightness for a jet. It's also being tracked in the right direction for the tail at the back.

We also have reference footage of planes looking like that in MWIR, I tried to find some quadcopters in MWIR but couldn't, searches are hard because they all bring up quadcopters being used as platforms for carrying FLIR cameras and not as the subject of them.
 
D

Deleted member 16321

Guest
Okay but you can see there are also, possibly lesser heat sources on the rotors, there does not appear to be a heat source at the end of the "rotor arm"

I take your point about seeing it one way but that outline looks very much like a plane it has the proportions, shape and the features in all the right places and at the right brightness for a jet. It's also being tracked in the right direction for the tail at the back.

We also have reference footage of planes looking like that in MWIR, I tried to find some quadcopters in MWIR but couldn't, searches are hard because they all bring up quadcopters being used as platforms for carrying FLIR cameras and not as the subject of them.
There's a few more examples in that same paper linked to above (p.189)
Screenshot 2022-06-17 at 13.32.42.png
 
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flarkey

Senior Member
0930Z on 30 July 2019:

That's the only plane that shows up, but it's 100 miles away, behind San Clemente, and off the stern (back) not the bow (front) (assuming they are facing at 277°)
The recently released unredacted version of the drones report suggests that the time of 0930z was approximate.

Screenshot_20220629-234750_Google PDF Viewer.jpg

This Aircraft, an American Airlines 767, flies nearby at 0915Z. Could that be the aircraft seen in the Infra Red screenshot?

Screenshot_20220629-234307_Flightradar24.jpg
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The recently released unredacted version of the drones report suggests that the time of 0930z was approximate.

Screenshot_20220629-234750_Google PDF Viewer.jpg

This Aircraft, an American Airlines 767, flies nearby at 0915Z. Could that be the aircraft seen in the Infra Red screenshot?

Screenshot_20220629-234307_Flightradar24.jpg
Very interesting, can we still get a kmz for that or is it too old?
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
So if the plane is at ~338 degrees as per the figures interpreted as such from the overlay then it is ~50KM away and the time is around 09:13

1656580376449.png

If the elevation figure is ~13 degrees as per the figures on the overlay then the height would be ~38,000 feet

1656580518361.png
1656580577005.png
Given the wiggle on using the loose measurements I would say its an almost perfect fit, it certainly is not outside the realms of possibility
 

flarkey

Senior Member
So using your figures above and the specification sheet of the Mk 20 EOSS system ....If the field narrow of view of the Thermal sight is 1.2 degrees, then the object in the video is ~0.068 degrees across.

1656583524612.png

Then if the 'craft' is on a bearing of 338, and the 777 track is used then the distance to the plane is, as per the post above 49.9km

A distance of 49.9km and an aircraft altitude of 39000 ft (11887m), this gives a slant range of 51296m.

The arc subtended by an angle of 0.068 degrees at a distance of 51296m is 60.87 m. This gives us a calculated measurement of the length of the object in the screenshot (If it was at the same location as the American Airlines 777) as 60.9 m.

Ok Google, what are the dimensions of a 777-200 ER....?

1656584339232.png

63.7 m long, versus the calculated figure of 61m. Thats pretty close. (and considering that the craft on the image isn't directly side-on)
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
So using your figures above and the specification sheet of the Mk 20 EOSS system ....If the field narrow of view of the Thermal sight is 1.2 degrees, then the object in the video is ~0.068 degrees across.

1656583524612.png

Then if the 'craft' is on a bearing of 338, and the 777 track is used then the distance to the plane is, as per the post above 49.9km

A distance of 49.9km and an aircraft altitude of 39000 ft (11887m), this gives a slant range of 51296m.

The arc subtended by an angle of 0.068 degrees at a distance of 51296m is 60.87 m. This gives us a calculated measurement of the length of the object in the screenshot (If it was at the same location as the American Airlines 777) as 60.9 m.

Ok Google, what are the dimensions of a 777-200 ER....?

1656584339232.png

63.7 m long, versus the calculated figure of 61m. Thats pretty close. (and considering that the craft on the image isn't directly side-on)
Your diagram shows 200LR and 300ER but not 200ER I assume the 200 and the 300 are different lengths or is it the ER/LR that makes it longer/shorter?

It's still in the right ball park though given the flex on the starting figures we have.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
If the elevation figure is ~13 degrees as per the figures on the overlay then the height would be ~38,000 feet
You've been using Flat Earth geometry, curvature adds another ~600 ft., closing the gap.

The reported altitude of 39,000 feet really indicates flight level 390. This level is based on a standard pressure at ground level, and its altitude varies with the actual air pressure, i.e. the weather.
 

flarkey

Senior Member
Your diagram shows 200LR and 300ER but not 200ER I assume the 200 and the 300 are different lengths or is it the ER/LR that makes it longer/shorter?

It's still in the right ball park though given the flex on the starting figures we have.

Yes the 200 & 300 are different lengths, but I believe the 200ER and 200LR are the same - 63.7m.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
You've been using Flat Earth geometry, curvature adds another ~600 ft., closing the gap.

The reported altitude of 39,000 feet really indicates flight level 390. This level is based on a standard pressure at ground level, and its altitude varies with the actual air pressure, i.e. the weather.
Thanks I always forget to account for that, ironically..
 

flarkey

Senior Member
I think the bearing in the slide is 333° rather than 338°, and the elevation is 12°. The image below is from Google Earth and shows a 3d projection of a line from the ship coordindates on a bearing of 333° and at an elevation of 12° and how closely that intercepts the flight path of the AA 777.

1656587224104.png
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The reason I think it is 338 is that it seems to smoothly change to 339 then to 340 as the tracking occurs.
 
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