Friday, September 13, 2019

Of Course, This Will NEVER Be Misused

h/t Bayou Renaissance Man

For what it is, it's great.

The key component is the GPS.

Getting back to the perpetual drone-bomb topic, how long before low-tech non-country players use this method to air-deliver 1-ton bomb loads right onto a target?

Unless you've pre-degraded GPS (which we almost never do, because of civil aviation), your first clue will be when Mohammed FedEx's you a 2000-pound nitrocellulose enema.

This thing is nothing but a cardboard box with wings and a simple brain.

Of course, no one will ever do that with something you could drop from a Cessna 15 miles away.

Let alone from airliners 40 miles away at 25k'.

As if.

And if you think one-ton blivets of drugs from the cartels that can be pinpoint-dropped to a waiting van far from the border aren't going to start being a thing, just like semi-submersible coke ships are, I've got a bridge for sale, cheap.

You'll also see them dropping resupply to groups way out in the Middle Of Nowhere, to facilitate human smuggling. You read it here first. (The solution to that is to build the frickin' wall, so they can't get here in group quantities.)

This is going to make air defense and interdiction quite a thing, going forward, at every level.

What goes around, comes around.

Technology doesn't have a side. It merely has applications.


thomas said...

That was exactly my first thought as well. Cheap ass cruise missile.

Beans said...

The Cartels are already using smaller drones to smuggle stuff into prisons.

And they are using ultralight aircraft to carry and drop drugs over the border.

This is just the logical combination of ultralight and hobby drones.

More and more, an active air-defense system along the border seems to be a sensible idea. Small missiles and autoguns on both mobile and fixed turrets. Splash anything that crosses the border. Anything. If it ain't legal, splash that target. We're at war on the border and we need to start acting like it.

Borepatch said...

Our world is filled with soft targets. It doesn't take any imagination to come up with a 4 figure death toll from these things. Remember, the first explosion is just to attract attention and first responders. The second and subsequent ones are the main event.

Anonymous said...

Drones will never be effective weapons. /sarc

Chuck said...

Didn't read the whole article when it came out, but I doubt it included the critical data: What's the glide ratio? Probably better than a brick but not as good as a Schleicher 19. (For comparison, a 747's unpowered GR is about 15:1, meaning 15 feet of lateral travel for each foot of altitude lost).

There's a lot of heavy math involved, specifically with lift/drag data, but modern sailplanes operate in the - very roughly - 70:1 area. Let's assume the slide rule team here has only bachelor's degrees in aeronautical engineering and not Phds, and can only achieve 25:1. With the release point at 15,000 feet that means a maximum impact radius of 71 miles; using Lower Manhattan of 9/11 fame, the radius extends from West Haven CT to the Allentown PA suburbs. And no, delivering 1-2K lbs of Semtex ain't the same as 200K tons of 767 but it's enough to get someone's attention. Pshaw, you say, pure fantasy, but there's a rather noticeable lack of AA on western bank of the East River or the eastern side of the Hudson. Or, for that matter, anywhere near the Washington Beltway. IIRC, Tom Clancy was the only one who pointed out the possibility of what wound up changing life in America forever.

71 miles from San Diego is almost Long Beach to the north and downtown Ensenada to the south. Ensenada, for the geographically challenged, happens to be in a country not known for setting records with its governmental or law enforcement excellence.

Releasing at 25K feet gets you 118 miles which, given favorable winds, could easily be stretched 20%. 15K is achievable with no supplemental oxygen and a normally aspirated Cessna, 25K requires more than that. But given that drug cartels have pissed away $1M each on single-use submarines, I suspect they can buy better airplanes and afford fairly decent software for the gliders.

This bears watching. I hope we have people smart enough to do that, and unencumbered by bureaucratic bullshit enough to do something sensible and reasonable about it.

Anonymous said...

Bears watching, aye. We have people smart enough to be watching. I rather doubt we have anyone unencumbered by bureaucratic bullshit to plan and execute a sensible and reasonable counter.
Boat Guy

Anonymous said...

So we'll all be shocked, shocked I say when the first strike occurs.

RandyGC said...

Don't even need a GPS. Electro-optical (EO) has been a thing since WWII (on both sides) up through the Walleye and Maverick. Or use a combination in a degraded GPS environment. So don't leave the EW component out when planning your IADS.

John Wilder said...

Well that was timely.

Reltney McFee said...

Howzabout a homing apparatus? It's not as if some enterprising soul couldn't identify a way (or 12) to access a Target and initiate a beacon powered by long lived batteries. Next week, "knock, knock...BOOM!"

Hoping that "Our Betters" © have this covered. Expecting, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Re Chuck at 4:59 AM:

The main article (linked and summarized at the hat/tip) says the glide ratio is 8.4, so it's more of a brick than a sailplane; not bad for the official purpose since the wing sections, nose and tail are shipped inside the 8' box. The developer says they've dropped at 25,000 feet and got 40 miles; they don't say what the gross weight was for that test. (Max gross 2000 pounds, max net 1630)

OTOH, the vendor is talking about an electric motor. If you didn't care about the noise, you could probably hang a 2 stroke engine to extend the glide with a lower drop altitude.


Jim Scrummy said...

Yep. Where I work in a meeting some time ago (about 2015 ish) I told the po-po administrator I was working with on a numerous projects, the next attack on this place will be via swarming drones. He looked at me like I had a third eye. Yeah, what happened in the Ukraine? Now in Saudia Arabia, Israel, It's the best bang for the buck. Period.

But hey what do I know, I'm just dirt.

John said...

Half of Saudia Arabia's oil production just went bye-bye; from a drone attack.

Gee, I guess the USA could help protect SA from further losses, if they weren't such dicks.

So, Aesop. Nothing like instant validation.

Beans said...

And I remember, about 6-9 months ago, some intrepid pro-sports drone saying that the enemy will never get their hands on weaponized drones...


If we can think of it, that means ChiCom's already stolen it and is providing it at a profit to our enemies.

As to Saudi Arabia, it's a good thing that we're a net oil exporter now, with all the fracking and other technologies. Though I'm kinda worried about anything within 100 miles of the US/Mexican border now.

Unknown said...

Posted by Matt Bracken | Sep 15, 2019
The small size of attack drones and their global availability makes them especially attractive to non-state actors, or to nations (Iran in the Saudi case) who wish to arm proxies with effective weapons while maintaining deniability. In the current Saudi (or a potential United States civil war scenario), with Balkanized ethnic or religious groups mixed across the battle space, it will always be possible for an enemy guerrilla team to get within drone-launching range of their targets.