Discussion:
Drone Attack on Saudi Oil Field Seen as ‘Pearl Harbor’ Moment
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a425couple
2019-09-15 21:03:11 UTC
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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-15/drone-attack-on-saudi-oil-field-seen-as-pearl-harbor-moment

Politics
Drone Attack on Saudi Oil Field Seen as ‘Pearl Harbor’ Moment
By Alan Levin
September 15, 2019, 12:21 PM PDT

Inexpensive devices give terrorists new power to sow fear
Rebel group claims it sent 10 drones in strike on Saudi Arabia
Satellite image showing plumes of smoke from the Abqaiq oil plant
following a drone strike.
Satellite image showing plumes of smoke from the Abqaiq oil plant
following a drone strike. Source: Planet Labs Inc.
LISTEN TO ARTICLE
5:21
SHARE THIS ARTICLE

For many of the national security teams that monitor threats on the
U.S., the apparent drone strike Saturday on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s
oil production facilities was the realization of their worst fears.

Based on early reports, multiple relatively inexpensive drone devices
were able to pierce Saudi defenses in a way that a traditional air force
could not: flying long distances to drop potent bombs that apparently
set vast portions of the Saudi petroleum infrastructure ablaze.

“This has the potential to be as significant as Pearl Harbor,” said
Randy Larsen, a former professor and department head at the U.S.
military’s National War College.

The attack, for which Houthi rebels battling Saudi Arabia in Yemen took
credit, underscored the fears raised by U.S. security officials and
experts in terrorism about the rapid evolution of technologies allowing
expanded unmanned flight.

“The bottom line is that we are likely to see many more of these sorts
of attacks, and in particular, coordinated attacks on multiple targets
are likely, possibly in tandem with a cyber attack component,” Milena
Rodban, an independent risk consultant based in Washington, said in an
email.

Read more: Saudi Attacks Reveal Oil Supply Fragility in Asymmetric War

The risk is hardly new, though, for law enforcement and homeland
security officials. FBI Director Christopher Wray in October warned a
Senate committee that civilian drones pose a “steadily escalating
threat.” The devices are likely to be used by terrorists, criminal
groups or drug cartels to carry out attacks in the U.S., he said.

Dozens of incidents in recent years have hinted at the risks, from the
mysterious drone flying at London’s Gatwick Airport in December that
disrupted operations for days, to recent assassination attempts using
the devices in Yemen and Venezuela.

But even as the threat is well documented and understood, the
counter-measures necessary to prevent or repel an attack are far murkier.


There is currently no requirement on how to track the millions of
civilian drones plying the U.S. skies. The Federal Aviation
Administration has spent the past two years crafting regulations
requiring small civilian drones to install radio-identification
technology after the FBI and Department of Homeland Security objected to
widening public use of the devices. A proposed regulation is expected
later this year, but may not be completed for a year or more.

Identifying Drones
Meanwhile, the FAA has cautioned airports about acquiring anti-drone
technology. The agency in recent years has tested radars and other
systems designed to identify drone intruders, but they all had
significant blind spots.

The military has more options to combat drones, but some technologies
such as jamming radio signals or firing weapons aren’t permitted in
civilian environments.

And, as the Saudi Arabia attacks appear to demonstrate, even a nation
with a sophisticated military and a large budget for defense is still
vulnerable, said Jeffrey Price, an aviation management professor at
Metropolitan State University of Denver who also works as a security
consultant.

The implication of Saturday’s attacks are enormous, Price said. They not
only highlight the growing technical capability of rebel groups, but
could also serve as inspiration for home-grown terrorists in the U.S.
who may be motivated by the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, he said.

‘New Spin’
“Flying a drone, that puts a new spin on things,” he said. “It enables
attacks that previously weren’t able to be conducted with that level of
stealth and detachment from the attacker.”

Few details about the attack have emerged. Secretary of State Michael
Pompeo blamed Iran, which is aligned with the Houthi rebels, and said
there was no evidence it originated in Yemen.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi rejected Pompeo’s
assertions, calling them “blind and fruitless accusations.”

Adding to the mystery, the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi and
U.S. officials are considering the possibility that cruise missiles
launched from Iraq were used. Cruise missiles are a type of unmanned
vehicle, but with greater sophistication than the drones typically
available to terrorist groups.

Quad Copters
Price and others said they doubted that the small quad copters that have
proliferated and can be bought online or in electronics stores were used
in the Saudi attacks. Those battery-powered devices have limited range
and can’t carry more than a pound or so of explosives.

However, many nations, including Israel and Iran, have demonstrated the
ability to build sophisticated flying devices that are relatively small
and stealthy, while also capable of carrying powerful explosive devices.

A 2018 United Nations report found that Iran had helped the Houthis
build a drone known as the Qasef-1, which was based on the Iranian-built
Ababil-T.

In mid-2018, the Houthi forces developed a new, longer-range drone known
as the UAV-X, according to another UN report earlier this year. It’s
capable of carrying a 40-pound (18-kilogram) warhead and flying more
than 745 miles (1,200 kilometers).

Modern computer chips and global-positioning satellite tracking are
making such drones more capable all the time, they said. And they are
far cheaper to build than the multimillion-dollar Reaper drones used by
the U.S. military.

Price said he raises the subject of drone security at the seminars he
regularly conducts at airports around the U.S., and the answer is always
the same.

“I literally ask them, what are you doing about drones?” he said.
“Everyone groans.”

— With assistance by Alaa Shahine

UP NEXT
Saudi Aramco Drone Attack Latest: Race to Restore Oil Output
a425couple
2019-09-15 21:10:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
from
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-15/drone-attack-on-saudi-oil-field-seen-as-pearl-harbor-moment
Politics
Drone Attack on Saudi Oil Field Seen as ‘Pearl Harbor’ Moment
By Alan Levin
September 15, 2019, 12:21 PM PDT
 Inexpensive devices give terrorists new power to sow fear
 Rebel group claims it sent 10 drones in strike on Saudi Arabia
Satellite image showing plumes of smoke from the Abqaiq oil plant
following a drone strike.
Satellite image showing plumes of smoke from the Abqaiq oil plant
following a drone strike. Source: Planet Labs Inc.
LISTEN TO ARTICLE
 5:21
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
For many of the national security teams that monitor threats on the
U.S., the apparent drone strike Saturday on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s
oil production facilities was the realization of their worst fears.
Based on early reports, multiple relatively inexpensive drone devices
were able to pierce Saudi defenses in a way that a traditional air force
could not: flying long distances to drop potent bombs that apparently
set vast portions of the Saudi petroleum infrastructure ablaze.
“This has the potential to be as significant as Pearl Harbor,” said
Randy Larsen, a former professor and department head at the U.S.
military’s National War College.
The attack, for which Houthi rebels battling Saudi Arabia in Yemen took
credit, underscored the fears raised by U.S. security officials and
experts in terrorism about the rapid evolution of technologies allowing
expanded unmanned flight.
“The bottom line is that we are likely to see many more of these sorts
of attacks, and in particular, coordinated attacks on multiple targets
are likely, possibly in tandem with a cyber attack component,” Milena
Rodban, an independent risk consultant based in Washington, said in an
email.
-------------------
Post by a425couple
A 2018 United Nations report found that Iran had helped the Houthis
build a drone known as the Qasef-1, which was based on the Iranian-built
Ababil-T.
In mid-2018, the Houthi forces developed a new, longer-range drone known
as the UAV-X, according to another UN report earlier this year. It’s
capable of carrying a 40-pound (18-kilogram) warhead and flying more
than 745 miles (1,200 kilometers).
Modern computer chips and global-positioning satellite tracking are
making such drones more capable all the time, they said. And they are
far cheaper to build than the multimillion-dollar Reaper drones used by
the U.S. military.
Perhaps this adds:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HESA_Ababil

Qasef-1
The Qasef-1 loitering munition is based on the Ababil-2 airframe and has
a 30-kg warhead.[9] It has been solely operated by Yemeni Houthis, who
have mostly used it to attack the radar components of MIM-104 Patriot
surface-to-air missiles.[8] The Qasef-1 has been in use since late 2016
and some examples have been intercepted in transit to Yemen.[8] It is
possibly a renamed or modified Ababil-T with an installed explosive
charge or a warhead.[8]

The Houthis claim that they manufactered Qasef-1 is themselves, but this
claim has been disputed and there is widespread suspicion that it is
Iranian-built.[8]


An Iranian Ababil-3. Note that with a mid-body wing, twin tailbooms, and
horizontal tail, the Ababil-3 is very dissimilar from other Ababils.
Ababil-3
The Ababil-3 is a complete redesign of the Ababil with an improved
airframe used solely for surveillance: it carries better equipment and
can stay aloft for longer.[2] Some sources also designate the Ababil-3
as the Ababil-III. The Ababil-3 is very likely based off the South
African Denel Dynamics Seeker, and possibly the Seeker-2D model in
particular.[2] It is more widely exported than the Ababil-2, and is
known to have entered production by 2008, with specific parts
manufactured by 2006.[2]


The Ababil-3 can collect real-time video.
The Ababil-3 has a cylindrical body, with wings mounted on top while at
the end of the body is an H-shaped twin boom. The wing design is a
rectangle which after half its lengths tapers toward the wing tips. The
Ababil-3's wingspan is about 7 meters, compared to 3 meters for the
Ababil-2.[10] It uses an engine from German company Limbach
Flugmotoren,[11] possibly the Limbach L550E.[12] Other sources suggest
the Ababil-3 is powered by Chinese or Iranian clones of the L550.[13]
Other particular parts inside the Ababil-3 were sourced from Irish
defense contractors.[14]


The Ababil-T's fiberglass construction, seen here in a Qasef-1 recovered
from Houthis in Yemen, is clearly visible.
Analysis of an Ababil-3 downed over ISIS-held territory in Iraq,
apparently due to mechanical failure, finds that the Ababil-3 is built
out of composite materials.[15] The powerplant had plain-surfaced
cylinder heads; it was unclear if the engine was manufactured in Iran or
China. Overall, the manufacture was "very economical" and the Ababil-3
was designed for low cost.[15] There were also a number of defects in
the downed Ababil-3 model, which could suggest poor manufacture or
handling in the field.[15]

Ababil-3s are based at an airstrip outside of Minab, a town near Bandar
Abbas.[16] Ababil-3s are also known to be based at Bandar Abbas
International Airport.[16] The Ababil-3 is comparable with the RQ-2.[16]

The Ababil-3's max airspeed is 200 km/h (120 mph), its range is 100 km
(62 mi) (roundtrip), and it has a service ceiling of 5,000 m (16,000
ft). It has an endurance of 4 hours. An estimated 217 Ababil-3s have
been built as of July 2019.[17]

In 2014 Iran announced that they had developed night vision capabilities
for the Ababil-3.[18] Previous Ababil variants were most effective in
daytime.

Ababil-3s have been extensively used in the Syrian Civil War.[2][19] The
heterogeneity of pro-regime forces makes it difficult to determine who
operates or controls their use.[19] An Ababil-3 crashed or was brought
down in Pakistani territory in July 2019.[20]
Byker
2019-09-15 23:08:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HESA_Ababil
But do they have the range to reach the Saudi oil fields from Yemen?
George
2019-09-16 20:07:01 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 15 Sep 2019 18:08:47 -0500
Post by Byker
Post by a425couple
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HESA_Ababil
But do they have the range to reach the Saudi oil fields from Yemen?
Ever notice how when something like this happens the price of petrol
goes through the roof yet the affected fuel wont be on line for a few
weeks


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Colonel Edmund J. Burke
2019-09-16 16:46:27 UTC
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Complete boredom.
ZZyXX
2019-09-16 18:33:58 UTC
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Post by Colonel Edmund J. Burke
Complete boredom.
well you are completely boring
Andrew Swallow
2019-09-16 20:27:38 UTC
Permalink
If Iran supplied the drones to a terrorist group then there will be
Iranian technicians with the terrorist. Someone needs to raid the camp
before Iran has the chance to get its people back. The technicians may
or may not be in uniform.

A single drone that hit somewhere on the refinery could be within the
ability of a terrorist group. However a mass drone attack that hits the
weak points needs technicians with oil expertise and drone maintenance
(to assign the radio frequencies).
Byker
2019-09-16 17:42:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
Drone Attack on Saudi Oil Field Seen as ‘Pearl Harbor’ Moment
By Alan Levin
September 15, 2019, 12:21 PM PDT
Inexpensive devices give terrorists new power to sow fear
Rebel group claims it sent 10 drones in strike on Saudi Arabia
The drones' trail leads back to Iran:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/14/politics/pompeo-drone-strikes-saudi-oil/index.html

Are they drones or cruise missiles?:




Gernot Hassenpflug
2019-09-17 03:30:14 UTC
Permalink
So time for dron calssification then? Exclude all play/toy drones, and
only include large ones costing tens of thousands of dollars which can
carry seveval kilograms of warhead. LOL
--
NNTP on Emacs 25.2 from Windows 7
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