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Analysis Of Recent Attack On Saudi Arabian Oil Facility


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#61 Chris Werb

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 0632 AM

I think the day of the drone is going to be short. Laser systems are maturing and have the added benefits of small target lead and no worries about falling shrapnel.

 

They need line of sight though and there are serious deconfliction issues with a weapon with essentially infinite range.  What do you do vs a drone launched against an urban target from within the target area itself? Your laser is potentially going to be hitting all sorts of things you wouldn't want it to. I do believe they are potentially a huge game changer though - particularly where manned aircraft are concerned. 


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#62 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 0638 AM


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#63 Chris Werb

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 0654 AM

I really think the US have missed an opportunity by not fitting TACTOM (or at least some TACTOMs) with terminal seekers* like JASSM. Also building a guided submunition variant - one that could deliver say four GBU-54 class weapons, perhaps each with their own DAMASK style seeker, plus a smaller warhead of its own, would be really handy and would give far more flexibility in targeting - a bit like the proposed European Perseus cruise missile.

 

*Assuming of course they haven't already and just not told anyone...


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#64 glenn239

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 0934 AM

 

No system is proof. Just because you have defenses doesn't mean your nation can't retaliate.

 

Honestly, in our situation, I think defensive systems for civilian and defence infrastructure in the UK would be a complete waste of money and we should go all in on survivable retaliatory systems. The cost balance is currently overwhelmingly in favour of the attacker and is likely to remain so for a very long time. The only caveat to that is that you need someone to retaliate against for deterrence to work.

 

 

I agree, but I also predict that in the next decade defensive drones and SAM systems are about to get together, such that something like S-500 or Iron Dome will be controlling hundreds or thousands of defensive drones in the air at one time.


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#65 Chris Werb

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 0939 AM

 

 

No system is proof. Just because you have defenses doesn't mean your nation can't retaliate.

 

Honestly, in our situation, I think defensive systems for civilian and defence infrastructure in the UK would be a complete waste of money and we should go all in on survivable retaliatory systems. The cost balance is currently overwhelmingly in favour of the attacker and is likely to remain so for a very long time. The only caveat to that is that you need someone to retaliate against for deterrence to work.

 

 

I agree, but I also predict that in the next decade defensive drones and SAM systems are about to get together, such that something like S-500 or Iron Dome will be controlling hundreds or thousands of defensive drones in the air at one time.

 

 

I'm sure you're right, but you'll still find the cost balance strongly in favour of the attacker, because, given the precision of the drones and the inherent high value and critical nature of unprotected targets, the defender will have to stop all the drones whereas the attacker will only have to get one through. Directed energy weapons may help somewhat, but they have obvious inherent problems, particularly when used against low flying targets in urban environments.


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#66 glenn239

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 0940 AM

I think the day of the drone is going to be short. Laser systems are maturing and have the added benefits of small target lead and no worries about falling shrapnel.

 

 

 

Tough to say.  Drones can adapt to use nap of the earth tactics.  Also, since the attacker picks their moment, some days can be foggy.


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#67 glenn239

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 0949 AM

 

 

 

No system is proof. Just because you have defenses doesn't mean your nation can't retaliate.

 

Honestly, in our situation, I think defensive systems for civilian and defence infrastructure in the UK would be a complete waste of money and we should go all in on survivable retaliatory systems. The cost balance is currently overwhelmingly in favour of the attacker and is likely to remain so for a very long time. The only caveat to that is that you need someone to retaliate against for deterrence to work.

 

 

I agree, but I also predict that in the next decade defensive drones and SAM systems are about to get together, such that something like S-500 or Iron Dome will be controlling hundreds or thousands of defensive drones in the air at one time.

 

 

I'm sure you're right, but you'll still find the cost balance strongly in favour of the attacker, because, given the precision of the drones and the inherent high value and critical nature of unprotected targets, the defender will have to stop all the drones whereas the attacker will only have to get one through. Directed energy weapons may help somewhat, but they have obvious inherent problems, particularly when used against low flying targets in urban environments.

 

 

I'm picturing a defensive drone that has an onboard 20mm (or whatever) cannon that the SAM system guides to intercept and it shoot the drone down.  The drone then returns to patrol to engage other targets. That way, the cost to the defense is tolerably low.  More expensive missiles and lasers engage the leakers, and more and more targets are armored so that the smaller drones cannot destroy them.

 

On the SAM systems themselves, I keep expecting to read that the radars will be broken up into smaller and smaller components, (so, instead of one big air search radar, 30 small ones coordinating to do the same thing).  Hasn't happened yet.  Must be tough to do.


Edited by glenn239, 20 September 2019 - 0950 AM.

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#68 Chris Werb

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 1305 PM

SAM systems - and especially their fire control radars - have to end up becoming distributed with each component being relatively inexpensive. Ideally you would have all your sensors networked to data-linked active radar or passive IR homing missiles in inexpensive single, stand alone launchers, widely dispersed through complex terrain or, with soft launch, even buried. The UK has moved toward that goal with its Sky Sabre system, but I have my doubts as to just how many sensor types it's actually going to end up integrated with and I suspect it will just end up being dependent on a small number of Giraffe radars that give it the same inherent vulnerability of most other mid-range SAM systems.


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#69 R011

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 1341 PM


One thing I was wondering, maybe because I had a long work week, but how did nobody end up killed or injured? If that is even true? Wouldnt those kinds of installations have night security guards and whatnot?

 
Maybe their lives were not worth worrying about, or that they were not able to use their sidearms to stop the attacking craft means that they needed to be liquidated.

Proobably just Asian slaves, I mean contract workers, and thus less valuable than sand.
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#70 R011

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 1341 PM


One thing I was wondering, maybe because I had a long work week, but how did nobody end up killed or injured? If that is even true? Wouldnt those kinds of installations have night security guards and whatnot?

 
Maybe their lives were not worth worrying about, or that they were not able to use their sidearms to stop the attacking craft means that they needed to be liquidated.

Proobably just Asian slaves, I mean contract workers, and thus less valuable than sand.
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#71 rmgill

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 1504 PM

Here's the thing with anti-drone systems. 

1. How do you avoid shooting down a civilian plane that's flying along?  Are there aviation exclusion zones around the area you're defending? You're going to have to have VERY tightly controlled airspace with transponders on EVERYTHING that might fly. 

2. WRT drones, are you scanning for anything that's drone sized for say recreational uses and tracking them all? You'll know when they break radar horizon, but given their utility for basic civilian legal tasks, you're going to have to track a lot of info and try to discriminate between each one.

3. Weaponized drones can range from a DJI hobby unit to a large military unit like the Iranians (or anyone else) can make that are essentially moderately sized or even large aircraft. How do you discriminate between those? Blanket ban? It's going to be bad if you shoot down a civilian news helicopter or worse a medivac. How do you differentiate between innocuous vs threat? 


Edited by rmgill, 20 September 2019 - 1504 PM.

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#72 Mighty_Zuk

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 1529 PM

If you're talking about soft kill, then a manned aircraft will not be vulnerable in the first place.

And yeah, if you're moving IADS somewhere, to protect something, you can be sure they'll be closing at least some airspace.
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#73 Colin

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 1834 PM

 

I think the day of the drone is going to be short. Laser systems are maturing and have the added benefits of small target lead and no worries about falling shrapnel.

 

They need line of sight though and there are serious deconfliction issues with a weapon with essentially infinite range.  What do you do vs a drone launched against an urban target from within the target area itself? Your laser is potentially going to be hitting all sorts of things you wouldn't want it to. I do believe they are potentially a huge game changer though - particularly where manned aircraft are concerned. 

 

I doubt most of the smaller lasers will have infinite range, I suspect the beam diffuses as it's travels. Now that will be an interesting conversation


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#74 Chris Werb

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 0648 AM

The one advantage the Saudis have is that the strategic oil targets that have been hot so far are in relatively remote, sparsely populated areas with quite flat terrain.
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#75 Chris Werb

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 0650 AM


 


I think the day of the drone is going to be short. Laser systems are maturing and have the added benefits of small target lead and no worries about falling shrapnel.

 
They need line of sight though and there are serious deconfliction issues with a weapon with essentially infinite range.  What do you do vs a drone launched against an urban target from within the target area itself? Your laser is potentially going to be hitting all sorts of things you wouldn't want it to. I do believe they are potentially a huge game changer though - particularly where manned aircraft are concerned. 
 
I doubt most of the smaller lasers will have infinite range, I suspect the beam diffuses as it's travels. Now that will be an interesting conversation


OK, not infinite, but significant. My understanding is that GBAD lasers are currently only tested against targets on ranges where you can ensure unoccupied terrain in the background.
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#76 Roman Alymov

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 1456 PM

The tiny holes seen in the aerial footage are actually quite large from another perspective:

Datg16v.jpg

70347382_2330684820526308_14517586332085


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#77 Roman Alymov

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 1457 PM

70727458_2330682343859889_12777183421021


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#78 Roman Alymov

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 1459 PM

71184873_2330682243859899_15004189848795


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#79 Colin

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 1747 PM

good pictures thanks


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#80 Colin

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 1750 PM

 

 

 

I think the day of the drone is going to be short. Laser systems are maturing and have the added benefits of small target lead and no worries about falling shrapnel.

 
They need line of sight though and there are serious deconfliction issues with a weapon with essentially infinite range.  What do you do vs a drone launched against an urban target from within the target area itself? Your laser is potentially going to be hitting all sorts of things you wouldn't want it to. I do believe they are potentially a huge game changer though - particularly where manned aircraft are concerned. 
 
I doubt most of the smaller lasers will have infinite range, I suspect the beam diffuses as it's travels. Now that will be an interesting conversation


OK, not infinite, but significant. My understanding is that GBAD lasers are currently only tested against targets on ranges where you can ensure unoccupied terrain in the background.

 

Still with traditional AD you have to worry about falling debris as well, so tradeoff like everything.


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