Skip to comments.Gross Incompetence, A Tale of Two Stealth Birds
Posted on 12/26/2011 6:53:37 PM PST by Ronin
One of President Barrack Obamas few very few clear victories was the termination of Osama Bin Laden during a special warfare operation led by US Navy SEALS on May 1 this year. That one incident was said to have been a defining moment in his Presidency -- proof of his warrior credentials.
The media was in full rapture mode. Pundits gushed ecstatic and waxed profoundly on the macho virtues of our cuddly young generalissimo. They chortled with glee and busily assured each other that Obama was now guaranteed reelection at a minimum. Yet, as satisfying as that mission was, it did come at a significant cost. Specifically, a very expensive, top secret military helicopter broke down and had to be destroyed in place.
Not much is known about that bird, so I will refrain from speculating. In Wikipedia, it is described as, A previously-unseen modified Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk The article further notes, The aircraft seemed to include features like special high-tech materials, harsh angles and flat surfaces, previously found only on sophisticated stealth jets.
Its hard to quibble about that one. The destruction of the bird was accomplished according to whatever go-to-hell plan had been created beforehand. Some portions survived and will no doubt are still being closely examined but the worst was avoided. Most importantly, the mission itself was a success.
Fast forward to this December 4, and the mind-boggling loss of a fully functional, top secret, RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone to Iran, and you begin to wonder if you have indeed entered the Twilight Zone.
Why? Well, for one thing, this aircraft, even more than the abovementioned helicopter, is one of our nations technical crown jewels. Quoting Wikipedia again, the UAV is equipped with an electro-optical/infrared sensor and possibly an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar mounted in its belly fairing. The article quotes speculation that the two undercarriage fairings over the UAV's wings may house datalinks and that the belly fairing could be designed for modular payloads, allowing the UAV to be used for strike missions and/or electronic warfare.
The New York Times has reported that the RQ-170 is "almost certainly" equipped with communications intercept equipment as well as highly sensitive sensors capable of detecting very small amounts of radioactive isotopes and chemicals which may indicate the existence of nuclear weapons facilities.
Now this is bad very bad.
We undoubtedly lost a degree of stealth technology in the wreckage of the abovementioned helicopter, but since I doubt there are that many applications for helicopter stealth, the damage was minimal. And, as I mentioned above, they had time to implement their destruct bill. That would include yanking or putting explosive charges all the most sensitive avionics, before they flew out.
In contrast, the drone was the entire, fully-functional reality of our latest stealth and reconnaissance technology. How many billions of dollars were expended, how many man-hours were spent in research, how many instances of sheer genius went into that little Christmas present Obama dropped into the laps of a nation that is arguably among our most obdurate foes?
OK, and no, I do not quite buy the conspiracy theory that Obama arranged to have the drone given to the Mullahs. But there is one point that is absolutely clear. That drone could have only flown into the unfriendly skies of Iran at the direct orders of National Command Authority the President.
No intelligence director, general or admiral would dare authorize that mission on his or her own. Why would any of them want to stick their neck out that far? Furthermore, I dont see the Obama White House as the type that would allow anything like that level of local control anyhow. Micromanagers have to micromanage and Obamas crews are all micromanagers.
Get that dialed in clearly. This is not something the Obama apologists can be allowed to pin on the spooks or the boys and girls in uniform. The mission had to be ordered, or at the very least approved, by Obama himself.
He bought it. He owns it.
Now, fast forward to the incident itself; I wont discuss the cause, choose your own theory. It is here that Obama has demonstrated his total disregard for his Constitutional duties and that he is manifestly unsuited for his position as Commander in Chief.
Why? For one thing, I am positive utterly and completely positive that the person in charge of that operation had a set Standard Operating Plan (SOP) spelling out exactly what should be done when a Sentinel is gets off the reservation. All competent organizations have go-to-hell plans because when the brown organic matter impacts the rotary air impeller, confusion is deadly. The US Military is addicted to such plans and has checklists for every eventuality most especially the potentially worst ones because Murphy is never off watch.
All that means is once contact is lost, whatever organization sent in this wee birdie (either the CIA or the USAF) was obviously going to try their best to get it back. So recovery is given first priority. I am being vague here because I do not believe that whoever owned that drone could have operated it over Iran without some support from the US military, making it a joint operation at some level. Nor can I believe the bird was navigating on a single GPS feed. There had to be multiple signals coming off that bird, so they had to know exactly where it had landed.
The clock starts here.
So what happens? The first thing they do is look in the back of the binder for the contingency plan that covers this situation. There might be several. Another thing you can be sure of is, before they sent that drone into Iran, they carefully noted the assets available to help recover or destroy it if that became necessary. That would be a normal and obvious part of the mission planning SOP. So, messages go out alerting those assets, flight crews are called in, fighter and helicopter crews get briefed in, etc.
Simultaneously, the word goes up to the President, We have these plans ready to go and these plans on standby... and get back either an immediate refusal, or what is much more likely nothing.
Thus, we are forced to choose from one of two conclusions. Either our Commander in Chief blew off recovery from the start, or he choked. Neither response is acceptable.
The window was rapidly closing. If the Iranians did indeed manage to hack the drone, and that is already as alarming as losing the aircraft itself, just think of how eager they were to get their hands on an intact model. So a lot of Irans military and Revolutionary Guard assets are on the move. If they can get sufficient firepower in place in time, they can effectively deny any successful attempt to recover the drone. This would mean destroying it in place was the only way to safeguard the drone and everything it represents as a strategic national technological advantage.
The clock kept ticking, options started fading soon it was too late. The Iranians were on it like ants on a dead beetle. Every flyable jet they had available was in the air, all their missile crews were scanning the skies. The window had closed.
Bye bye Sentinel. The Beast of Kandahar is now in enemy hands.
So here we are... At this very moment, China and Russia are probably locked in a bidding war for bits and pieces of this bird. Crumbs the Mullahs are going to be crafty enough to use to their greatest advantage. But you can be sure that they will eventually get access. They will learn the secrets.
That is the crime that Obama is guilty of. Lets be brutally clear here. Recovering the drone in place or destroying it before it became impossible to do so were Obamas only legal, moral, ethical and logical choices; one or the other. There is no box marked Number Three. The responsibility to use properly and safeguard absolutely the strategic assets of the United States is an integral part of any Presidents job description. If he was unwilling to sign off on a mission to recover or destroy it if necessary, he should have not sent it in.
Even, no decision was a decision. If, by exercising what amounted to a pocket veto, Obama chose not to do anything until it was too late for either mission to succeed, he still bares full responsibility. I wont argue motive here. Choose your own. Whatever the reason, that decision was the moral equivalent of cowardice in the face or the enemy or it was treason.
Think about it. Would a soldier who intentionally delivered, allowed to be delivered, who failed to even attempt to recover, one-tenth of one-percent of the secrets Obama has handed to the Iranians see it swept under the rug? Lets ask US Army Private Bradley Manning. And, what that fruitcake delivered amounted to a lot of stale political gossip. Obama has delivered the finest and freshest fruits of several technological trees that took decades of blood, sweat, tears and billions of dollars to produce.
Former Vice President Richard Cheney did not give Obama one-tenth the Hell he deserved over this issue. Nor, obviously, has the media or anyone else.
So where does that leave us now? Until or unless people start treating this issue with the seriousness it deserves, its not going to go anywhere and it needs to. In a future conflict, American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are likely to die in much greater numbers due to what was arguably the most contemptible, long-term-destructive-of-American-interests, acts of indifference, incompetence or both ever perpetrated by a US President.
Why did it happen? Was he criminally negligent? Or, was it because Obama simply gets a naughty thrill when sticking his fingers into the eyes of a group of people patriots he secretly despises?
In either case, it is unquestionably clear that Obama has demonstrated a level of incompetence and willful disregard you can even argue hostility to and for the responsibilities of his office that is far beyond any that can be allowed in an American President.
This needs much more discussion.
If Barack 0bama killed Osama Bin Laden, then Richard Nixon walked on the moon!
Yeah, I agree. But I am trying to be “fair” here. If SEALs had killed Bin Laden under a Bush plan, we’d give him credit too.
A most excellent rollup of the facts, FRiend!
The loss of the UAV is the Kenyan’s fault, and no others.
And to try and glean some warrior cred from the OBL operation is propaganda for political gain.
DING DING DING the WINNAH!
I have a sixtysomething retired acquaintance who worked for Lockheed who assures me that in a case like this all the sensitive electronic components and sub-assemblies are designed to fry themselves.
The mullahs might have gotten the fuselage and the engines but that’s it. The important stuff is melted or wiped.
Remember that the only part of the “stealth chopper” that the mullahs got was the tail. It had broken off and was separate from the rest of the aircraft. The SEALs did a good job of torching the important part.
Here’s hoping that technology was incorporated into this bird.
My friend was pretty confident that this is SOP.
Before we get too far along in our garment-rending, hair-tearing and breast-beating...
Let’s play at being optimists this time.
The media has touted Obama’s reluctance to destroy the
drone as he didn’t want the Iranian regime to have a
cause for war, yet that regime has been at war with us
ever since they took over our embassy. They are under
no delusions and freely admit it.
So that leaves Barak Obama, under the delusion that
peace can be bought at the price of inaction.
We are on the brink, with an unknown, unproven,
untrained, neighborhood organizer at the helm.
God help us.
Barack Obama did not shut down operations to find and kill Osama .....thats all he did. Its a good thing but still thats all he did
Below are some posts I made a week or so ago. I re-post them here since they seem a good fit and someone might find them interesting.
None of this rings true at all.
Even a novice design team would build in at least triple layer watchdog systems.
There is no way a simple loss of GPS would cause all the systems to fail. Furthermore,
corruption of one system by trojan or virus would not take out the other watchdog
systems. These systems are kept isolated from each other by code base and power supply
and in some instances they have different design teams to ensure against sabotage.
Any one of the redundant systems would either result in the drone returning to friendly
airspace or the destruction of the craft.
GPS is not the sole method of determining the crafts location. They can follow terrain
just as a cruise missile can by referencing mapping data. GPS can give a drone pinpoint
navigation but that is overkill, within a few hundred yards is sufficient and even the
old system of inertial guidance can handle that.
The notion that the craft sustained damage because the landing strip is not at the same
altitude as the real one somewhere in Afghanistan is absurd! A sophisticated drone does
not rely on GPS to determine height above a runway, such a task is childs play for even
a low dollar radar altimeter system. A remote controled plane enthusiast could build such
a system for his toy planes.
You simply cannot jam the communications system of a drone from the ground! They have
a link to low orbit satellites and the antenna for this is atop the craft and shielded from
a signal located on the ground. A break of this link would also result in a countdown to
self destruct that could only be halted by an encrypted code sent back from the drones
What is not easy is to somehow fool the redundant on-board positioning systems so that they do not catch the sudden change of location. A sudden shift of location from somewhere over Iran to somewhere over Afghanistan is pretty hard to miss..lol :-)
The instant such a sudden change in GPS takes place the system would know it was being attacked and would no longer rely on any GPS data. It would default to another system like inertial positioning or simply look at the terrain below or check the rf spectrum footprint....there are at least a half dozen ways a drone could get its location...some are non-intuitive and not widely understood.
The fact that GPS is so easy to manipulate is becoming a plus. Many who think they are sophisticated are relying on their ability to mess with GPS as a shield against US tech functioning properly. When the SHTF our stuff will indeed work just fine and they will be a laughingstock :-)
Remember, there would be more than one independent system watching the drones progress.
Plus somewhere there was a real live human operator paying attention. The following is a very simplified way of explaining what would occur and what the drones systems would be reporting both to the operations base and to the redundant systems on the craft.
Hello, Im crossing into Iran now, just tooling along everything is just fine.
Hello again, GPS says somehow I have inexplicably turned around and am heading back to base!?
Hello, I just checked inertial guidance and it says Im still going in the right direction... WTF is going on!?
Hello again, Im looking around and it sure looks like Iran to me! Please advise?
Hello, Ive started a watchdog timer for self destruct, please advise if you want me to stop it!?
LOL... as I said, this story is ridiculous.
Something tells me this drone is something other than is being reported!? Or else we have morons building our drones.
p.s. It is no great trick to design GPS equipment so that it can tell the difference between a GPS signal source in orbit where its supposed to be and one transmitting from someplace else.
I have no desire or inclination to be optimistic here.
Even if the self-destructs on that aircraft did work partially, they obviously didn’t work perfectly because any reasonable self destruct plan would have destroyed the airframe in flight. Furthermore, if it was hacked, we don’t know when the hack took affect, or even if the self destruct commands could be received after it took affect.
But even supposing the entire electronic suite was fried, they still got the airframe, which is 90% of the stealth itself.
That is enough to condemn Obama for this. More than enough.
One can only hope.
Or else we have morons building our drones.
Or flying them, or ordering the ones who are flying them, or someone isn't a moron, but a not-quite-bright evil one who thinks that they are a frickin' genius...
With this I agree. Obama should be frog marched out of the White House and sent away.
Unfortunately, the Congress doesn't have balls to even consider this.
Pictures, or it didn't happen. I'm not taking Obama's word for anything, no matter how many times the Big Lie gets told.
I agree, nobody will ever be able to convince me that Obooga gave the order to eliminate Osama. It didn’t happen period. Obooga did not want to kill Osama and somebody else put their career on the line and inadvertantly made that Kenyan sh**bag look good.
I’m stuck, between
1. Well, duh!
2. Clinton sold the Chicoms our best technology for campaign $s.
3. All this whiz bang technology, military special ops and endless contingency plans - and yet neither the Russians nor the US have won a single unconditional surrender against even the most backwards TWHHs since WWII.
4. They’ll be using the drones against Patriots soon enough. This’ll be one less to deal with.
Hopefully, any destruct systems they had on board totally wiped out the electronics, otherwise they do indeed have some of our most advanced work.