Iran downs US old tech drone.. . The Economic Sanctions Working

6 hours ago, Jon#2 said:

What is he going to do if Iran follows through on their threat of enriching weapons grade uranium?

 

6 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Nothing. 

Are nuclear weapons in the Middle East a credible threat to the United States mainland, or did we mostly care about protecting the oil fields? 

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6 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

This thread starts with the headline:  "Iran downs US drone. No military response"

Why is this so startling?  The US sends a spy drone to go take a look at what the Iranians are up to  (not much of a surprise there), and the Iranians go take a shot at it, get lucky, wing the bird, and down it goes.  Again no big surprise - after you get past the shooting part of hitting the bird.  Let's remember something:  The USA has no business sending spy drones over other countries.  If you do that, then don't be surprised that somebody takes umbrage and tries to knock it down.  Going back some 50 years, the Russians were infuriated that the US had developed that U-2 high-level spy plane that flew up beyond their air power reach, and could travel over several thousand miles of Soviet territory with impunity. So the Russians knocked themselves out developing an ultra-high-altitude interceptor missile, knocked down Francis Gary Powers, and the rest is history.  The US can do it today with the Blackbird SR-71, but nobody much bothers as satellites have made those manned flights obsolete. 

Today those spy drones, and their cousins the assassination drones, are cheap enough to build and operate and can drop a bomb right through some open window and into the bedroom of any foreigner the US wants to go assassinate, and do it with complete impunity.  Now, that prospect is going to make adversaries rather jumpy.  You have to expect that the targets are going to do their damnest to knock those birds down.  Another good reason not to have a live pilot on board. 

Nobody is going to start a shooting war over some spy drone.  They just send up another one, and the game continues. 

Are you familiar with Louis C.K.?
https://youtu.be/0O5h4enjrHw?t=107

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5 hours ago, wrs said:

Maybe they didn't just get lucky.  They have shot down US drones in the past as well as taking them over by electronic spoofing.  It is likely the case that US drones really can't operate over Iran because they have effective countermeasures.  If you look at the modest success the Houthis have been seeing with their attack drones then you get the idea that Iran may be on an equal footing with the US as far as drone technology goes.  The US sources the KSA air defense systems that failed to stop the cruise missile that attacked the airport in KSA and also the drones that hit the pipeline.  

I would think also that the oil shorts butts should be pretty puckered up about now. 

  

BTW, I just heard this drone cost $180m. 

 

5 hours ago, NickW said:

Iran is getting good at shooting down US Drones. The tab must be heading towards the $1 billion mark.

 

5 hours ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

$ 189 million  is the unit cost counting the R&D. But the US is selling 6 MQ-4C triton drone to Australia for 5 billions US$. That's close to a 1 billion unit cost.

https://www.janes.com/article/87481/australia-to-acquire-second-mq-4c-triton-uav

Expensive when brand new, but they had limited life left on them.  The claim is that this was an RQ-4A, which was the initial RQ-4 production run.  These aircraft have endured 20 years of constant operation flying 30+ hours at a time.  They're probably near the end of their lives. 

They're also obsolete.  The Air Force has already tried to retire them, but Congress insisted another $4 billion be spent on sustainment.  "Oops, Iran shot them down" is a pretty good excuse to get new aircraft.  If you figure these aircraft have minimal residual value, minimal reconnaissance value in an age when stealth is necessary, and high sustainment costs, Iran may have just saved the Air Force money.  

The US also needs excuses to tighten the screws on Iran.  Regardless of whether the attacks are justified, enough of them will lead The Public to view Iran as an aggressor.  Everyone will remember that missiles were fired; no one will remember why.  After enough Iranian "aggression", Trump could solemnly announce that he didn't want war, but Iran simply refused to cooperate - just as he appropriated military funding for his wall after "negotiations" with Congress fell through. 

In summary: The Air Force wants these aircraft to disappear, and Trump needs a scapegoat.  Win-win. 

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5 hours ago, James Regan said:

130ft wing span bigger than Boeing 737 these things are big!

Not really.  The drone itself  (fuselage) is small enough.  That long wingspan is to develop a very low "wing loading," which in turn translates into lots of lift for little power expenditure, which in turn translates into lots and lots of on-target linger time.  A decent drone can stay upstairs loitering for 24 hours.  Compare to a fighter jet that might have only 20 minutes on-target time. 

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4 hours ago, Falcon said:

Trump just tweeted , "Iran made a Big Mistake. they're going to be sorry".  You don't tweet about retaliation".

If you're going to retaliate just do it.

What a dolt.

Trump has to sell it to the public.  That means he'll wait for - or possibly provoke - a number of "aggressive" Iranian actions before finally claiming he has no choice but to retaliate. 

It doesn't make tactical sense, but it does make political sense. 

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5 hours ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

Where did the downed drone crash ?

If it's well inside the Iranian territory it will be hard to defend it was shot on international waters.

By the way it could help he  Iranians to better know the US drones technology.

 

 

3 hours ago, wrs said:

Retaliation might be a problem as Iran just demonstrated the capability to shoot down our best spy drones with a truck based missile system.  That doesn't bode well for getting surveillance prior to any attack.  Going in blind isn't advisable.  Trump is in a tough spot here.

The RQ-4A is obsolete technology.  Iran won't learn much - if anything - from it. 

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6 hours ago, James Regan said:

Pompeo quoted any attack on US assets would be considered acts of aggression and would have consequences.

I don’t think the US had the stomach to take on Iran, it would be a completely different game to taking on Iraq or ISIS etc.

Very complicated situation too risky.

The US doesn't need Iran's oil, which means there's no need to invade & rebuild.  All that's required is that Iran be contained with sanctions and maybe some bombs.  That'll be easy enough for the US. 

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3 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

 

The RQ-4A is obsolete technology.  Iran won't learn much - if anything - from it. 

If it's obsolete then there isn't much use in having it perform missions in the gulf.  There are multiple versions of this thing out there and the latest ones carry very advanced sensor technology that would be of interest to the Iranians.  I am fairly confident this wasn't a junk pile due for the scrap heap sent out to be shot down.  It was performing a mission with it's advanced sensors.  I guess we will have to wait to see but originally the US spokeperson said it was a MQ-4C Triton which made more sense given it's equipped for maritime duty and used by the Navy.  I suspect the change of identification to the older version is too limit the embarrassment.

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3 hours ago, wrs said:

Well if they are truck based it will be hard to do but they have to find out where the telemetry was coming from that shot the drone down.  If the pilots knew the drone was lit up then they should have some information about the source of the targeting system.  I have a hard time believing a truck based system has a good enough radar to track a small target that high but the article says the system can shoot missiles up to 18 miles high, just wonder how accurate they are.  

It's NOT a small target, and it's NOT our "best spy drone". It's as big as a jetliner and it's designed to "loiter" for at least a dozen hours over the target. It would be relatively easy to shoot down, although they did use something like neoprene on the skin to mess with the radar signature. My guess, they used a laser guided system and did it visually. 

It's unlikely it was over Iran, it can stand off and see plenty, and the most interesting stuff is happening IN the gulf, not on land. 

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10 hours ago, Falcon said:

Trump can't be goaded into war by Iran . . .  or Saudi Arabia, or Israel.

 John Kerry should be tried for advising Iranians and encouraging them to resist Trumps U.S. policy. Does Kerry understand how many lives of US military in Iraq war Iran is responsible for ?

Just tighten the noose around their economy and any European country that gives them one dime of economic assistance or facilitates business transactions. 

Europe needs to get on board.  If not just get out of Mideast.  Let Angie Merkel deal with it.

Then get out of Mideast. US has no "interest" there.  

With all the griping the Democrats had about Trump's people violating the Logan Act, it would be fair play to go after Kerry, even if it is a ridiculous law that was written before we were even the USA. 

As for "defending" the gulf, we have no choice, it was part of the agreement to monetize oil sales in dollars, the famous "petrodollars" I always talk about. 

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1 hour ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

 

Are nuclear weapons in the Middle East a credible threat to the United States mainland, or did we mostly care about protecting the oil fields? 

When the leadership of Iran publicly claims they will nuke Israel (which they have done) we have no choice but to take the threat seriously on behalf of our ally. 

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(edited)

38 minutes ago, Ward Smith said:

It's NOT a small target, and it's NOT our "best spy drone". It's as big as a jetliner and it's designed to "loiter" for at least a dozen hours over the target. It would be relatively easy to shoot down, although they did use something like neoprene on the skin to mess with the radar signature. My guess, they used a laser guided system and did it visually. 

It's unlikely it was over Iran, it can stand off and see plenty, and the most interesting stuff is happening IN the gulf, not on land. 

It flies above 50,000 feet which makes anything a small target but it's not big like a 737 in spite of the wingspan being the same, the fuselage is only about 50 ft.  I didn't say it was the best spy drone but I think it's one of the best we have in service.  There is reported to be a flying wing pure stealth version but I don't think it's in active duty. Initial reports had it to be the MQ-4C Triton which is very advanced and does suit the mission in the gulf but that was later changed to be the RQ-4A whcih would be less of a big deal to lose but doesn't seem to have much value in the mission while the MQ-4C is perfectly suited to the mission.  I think that is what provided the pictures of the Iranian navy guys taking the limpet mine off the Altair. 

 

Keep in mind, the US loses a lot of face over this and if we lost a MQ-4C and the Iranians captured it that would be BAD.  So I think they downgraded the drone to minimize embarrassment and provide as much excuse as possible for doing nothing in retaliation.  That's my spin on the facts to date.

Edited by wrs

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7 hours ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

Where did the downed drone crash ?

If it's well inside the Iranian territory it will be hard to defend it was shot on international waters.

By the way it could help he  Iranians to better know the US drones technology.

 

Apparently the drone was in international waters, not in Iranian airspace. 

Pentagon Releases Footage Of U.S. Drone Shot Down By Iran | NBC News  - YouTube

20190621_043620.jpg.0939c6b75e0f78a50b92c7e3caa04fa0.jpg

===============================

 

U.S. CLAIMS IRAN SHOT DOWN ITS UAV OVER INTERNATIONAL WATERS SAYS IT WAS RQ-4A GLOBAL HAWK

The U.S. military claimed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Crops (IRGC) had shot down its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the international airspace.

“U.S. Central Command can confirm that a U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (or BAMS-D) ISR aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19, 2019.” U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the Central Command (CENTCOM), said in a statement released on June 20.

The CENTCOM called the Iranian action “an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset,”denying that the UAV had violated Iran’s airspace.

The U.S. military identified the UAV in its statement as a BAMS-D, a variant of the RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude, Long, Endurance (HALE) UAV. Earlier, U.S. officials told news agencies that the UAV as a MQ-4C Triton, a specialized version of the global Hawk developed for the U.S. Navy.

a7dda510883a8c3c1c50f2e7c3aff66ea92ec20327932333ced13094e6a37618.thumb.png.2fa52f05eba00b944a6d108f0f96a319.png

The RQ-4N BAMS-D was the experimental precursor to the MQ-4C, developed under the same Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program, which explains the confusion.

BAMS UAVs were designed to provide the U.S. Navy with real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities over vast ocean and coastal regions.

The CENTCOM’s statement indicates that the U.S. is not willing to take the incident lightly. It’s unclear if Washington is planning to respond. Any such military action could lead to a serious conformation in the Persian Gulf.

 

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23 minutes ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Drone was in international waters, not in Iranian airspace. 

Pentagon Releases Footage Of U.S. Drone Shot Down By Iran | NBC News  - YouTube

That's just a claim not a proof.

The Iranian News Agency is also showing a picture of something supposed to be the falling drone on it's website (it appears on french version of the website but I've not seen it on the english version)

image.png.c60507aa2fad161c15690a27654e18e3.png

https://fr.irna.ir/news/83362320/L-Iran-abat-un-drone-espion-américain

This happened probably close to the limit of the Iranian territorial waters and each side will claim it was on one side or the other of this limit. Finding an independent and neutral assessment will be difficult.

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1 hour ago, Ward Smith said:

When the leadership of Iran publicly claims they will nuke Israel (which they have done) we have no choice but to take the threat seriously on behalf of our ally. 

Petrodollar good point.  If not for the Petrodollar Trump's sanctions on Iran would have never worked.

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1 hour ago, Ward Smith said:

It's NOT a small target, and it's NOT our "best spy drone". It's as big as a jetliner and it's designed to "loiter" for at least a dozen hours over the target. It would be relatively easy to shoot down, although they did use something like neoprene on the skin to mess with the radar signature. My guess, they used a laser guided system and did it visually. 

It's unlikely it was over Iran, it can stand off and see plenty, and the most interesting stuff is happening IN the gulf, not on land. 

Well yes - Since Lilliput Air started operations. 

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It's a big drone but not the size of a jetliner.

Just two images to have an idea of the relative size...

 

A human being next to a 737 :

image.png.63f0d58b90ce29a17572319f1913cfa3.png

 

A human being next to a Global Hawk

image.thumb.png.bb416df2484d9ba154b7c297e01ec501.png

 

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2 hours ago, Ward Smith said:

 With all the griping the Democrats had about Trump's people violating the Logan Act, it would be fair play to go after Kerry, even if it is a ridiculous law that was written before we were even the USA. 

As for "defending" the gulf, we have no choice, it was part of the agreement to monetize oil sales in dollars, the famous "petrodollars" I always talk about. 

Wouldn't it be better to have oil revenue than to have circulating petrodollars? 

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5 minutes ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

It's a big drone but not the size of a jetliner.

Just two images to have an idea of the relative size...

 

A human being next to a 737 :

image.png.63f0d58b90ce29a17572319f1913cfa3.png

 

A human being next to a Global Hawk

image.thumb.png.bb416df2484d9ba154b7c297e01ec501.png

 

The global hawk doesn't have a 40 meter wingspan

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2 hours ago, Ward Smith said:

When the leadership of Iran publicly claims they will nuke Israel (which they have done) we have no choice but to take the threat seriously on behalf of our ally. 

Sure, but "taking it seriously" can take many forms.  The easiest form is assured destruction: if they launch a nuke, we glass the entire country.  No need for deals, inspectors, and all that other nonsense. 

The best part is that assured destruction won't cost a dime.  We already have the nukes!

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2 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Wouldn't it be better to have oil revenue than to have circulating petrodollars? 

That's an insightful point, but the answer is subtle. The key is global commerce and a reason to purchase dollars. Right now 190 countries need to buy dollars to buy oil. That creates a huge worldwide demand for our currency and makes the entire world respect it. Take away that magnetic attraction and the only reason to buy dollars is what? To purchase the paltry amount of oil we sell and maybe buy some airplanes from Boeing? How many countries is that? 

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4 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Not really.  The drone itself  (fuselage) is small enough.  That long wingspan is to develop a very low "wing loading," which in turn translates into lots of lift for little power expenditure, which in turn translates into lots and lots of on-target linger time.  A decent drone can stay upstairs loitering for 24 hours.  Compare to a fighter jet that might have only 20 minutes on-target time. 

 High aspect ratio wings creates LOW induced drag, due to low CL operating at its maximum Cl/Cd but increased wing area and higher skin friction which means you are limited to LOW speed which translates into lots of on-station time and requires ever decreasing speed to increase on station time, OR you must fly VERY high allowing higher speed for same drag.  BUT: High aspect ratio wings require much more structural weight unless you massively drop the 'G' rating as the only way you can make high aspect wings is to make them very flexible which then creates massive flutter problems and why they often use spoilers for maneuvering as their primary instead of ailerons, making any high aspect ratio wing with low wing loading a sitting duck.

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1 hour ago, Ward Smith said:

The global hawk doesn't have a 40 meter wingspan

Actually, it does.  The beast is a bit like the old U-2, a massive long wingspan in order to give it huge glide and loiter capability with use of little fuel per hour on station.  Here are the official stats on this machine:

image.png.1c934371437d7246c35e49947f191fe5.png

Notice the 40-meter wingspan and 32 hours endurance.  Short little machine, only 47 feet  (big for a drone, but hey, they pack that sucker with a ton of electronics stuff).  Kind of a low-flying satellite, perfect for spying duty.  Cheers.

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Pompeo need to sit down and have a drink.

Just by using Google and " roughing" it out , looks like the drone was 10 miles from Iranian land. 
Airspace is measured in nautical miles as opposed to statute( land measured) miles . A nautical mile is 1.15 statute( land measured) miles. 
 International waters ( and airspace) start 12.001 nautical miles from a nation's coast.

For reference the white circle is the coordinates the drone was shot down.

Looks like the US was a little too close

Screenshot_2019-06-20-15-44-44.png

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