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(Fox News)   North Dakota man becomes the first person to be arrested, jailed and convicted with the help of a drone. Worst episode of "Cops" ever   (foxnews.com) divider line 83
    More: Followup, North Dakota, predators, Grand Forks Herald, Predator drone, Rodney Brossart  
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4744 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Jan 2014 at 10:20 AM (46 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-30 01:44:58 PM  
So much wrong with this story but in true FNC media fashion the story is all about OMG drones....which have really nothing to do with the story aside from the fact they were used for...something.
 
2014-01-30 01:47:39 PM  

PanicMan: Jesus built my hybrid: I am waiting for the first police drone shot down by crime drone story.  The police are buying used armored assault vehicles, and automatic weapons from the military for a reason. The ongoing arms race between the police and the criminal element, meaning it is only a matter of time before the criminal element  has their own drones.

Drones that size can't carry much and would need complex targeting system. Those are crazy expensive. You'd be better off just throwing rocks at a police drone.


*OOOH*, I love a good intellectual challenge.

My thinking is that a anti-drone missile need not be very complex at all, and in fact could be made by an advance R/C aircraft hobbyist.

First, let's look at the targeting system.

To my view, a simple and cheap anti-drone missile needs nothing more complex than a decent video camera in the nose and a strong enough transmitter to transmit that video back to the person controlling the drone.   This would allow the operator to steer the R/C aircraft at the drone, kamikaze fashion, and it allows for re-targeting if the R/C aircraft misses the first time.

Of course, you will need some capabilities beyond that of a normal R/C aircraft.  First, you'll have to fly higher and faster than a typical R/C aircraft.  Predators fly up to 25,000 feet and they typically cruise at 100 MPH-ish.  I'm guessing that for the most part they don't fly that high most of the time, though, because for a given set of optics, the higher you fly, the less detail you can see.  Simple physics.

So we need a way to rapidly get to, say, 16,000 to 20,000 feet or so, which is above typical GA altitudes but below most commercial aviation.

There are a couple of ways we could do that.

First, we could simply make the aircraft a rocket.  Using rocket candy, a mixture of stump remover and sugar, you could develop a simple rocket motor that would propel our R/C aircraft to high speeds and altitudes quite quickly.   Another alternative would be to make or buy a pulsejet engine, or even build a turbojet from a used turbocharger.

Any of those options would provide enough 'OOMPH' to get a relatively small R/C craft high enough.  And they don't have to operate for very long:  Just long enough to get the aircraft up to altitude is fine, with enough left over for several passes at the drone.

Airframe has to be fairly robust, not just to stand the stresses of 200-300 MPH flight, but also because the airframe itself is the warhead (we're going for a kinetic kill here).  So balsa wood and monokote are out.  Foam-core fiberglass is a possibility, especially if reinforced with some metal structural elements on the leading edges of the wings and in the nose.  It's also cheap to make, and you can make a very aerodynamic shape that way quickly.

Because we're going to be communicating over distances that could range up to 5 miles or more (drone at 16,000 feet altitude and a slant distance of 16,000 feet is roughly 4 miles away, add a mile for fudge factor), standard R/C radios won't cut it.  You can, however, get R/C systems that can be used at that range with relative ease.  In fact, some of the more sophisticated units have ranges up to 20 or 30 miles.  They are popular with "First Person View" R/C flyers, which, after all, is what we are thinking about.

You would want to climb the aircraft up over the altitude of the drone so that you are looking down, to provide extra contrast between the relatively dark ground and the white-colored drone.

That leaves pretty much the only real question that needs to be answered:  How do you know when there is a drone about?  Well, that's probably the toughest question to answer.

The low-tech way to do it would be to simply have people with binoculars scanning the skies.  Really, that's pretty much the only decent solution I can think of off the top of my head.

A TPR (total power receiver) tuned to the general frequencies used by the Predator for satellite uplink *MIGHT* work, if the receiver was high enough that it could get some side-lobe emissions from the upward pointing antenna, but you'd have to get the antenna high enough, which is problematic.


At a first guess, I'm thinking you could build an anti-Predator R/C kamikaze for something around $2,000-$4,000.
 
2014-01-30 02:04:33 PM  

FLMountainMan: lennavan: FLMountainMan: Yes, what he said should definitely warrant him being charged with the crime.

Threatening to shoot the cops for serving a legal warrant is indeed a crime.  You'll get over it.

FLMountainMan: What a great day for America. I'm so glad we have our brave boys in blue and the judicious hand of our government to lead them. Of course, my opinion on this will completely change when a different political party takes charge. Because you know THEY can't be trusted.

So this is what full derp looks like.  Cool.

So this is what a complete inability to comprehend sarcasm is.  Cool.


No, I got the sarcasm.  You're still an idiot.
 
2014-01-30 02:06:27 PM  

lennavan: FLMountainMan: lennavan: FLMountainMan: Yes, what he said should definitely warrant him being charged with the crime.

Threatening to shoot the cops for serving a legal warrant is indeed a crime.  You'll get over it.

FLMountainMan: What a great day for America. I'm so glad we have our brave boys in blue and the judicious hand of our government to lead them. Of course, my opinion on this will completely change when a different political party takes charge. Because you know THEY can't be trusted.

So this is what full derp looks like.  Cool.

So this is what a complete inability to comprehend sarcasm is.  Cool.

No, I got the sarcasm.  You're still an idiot.


Fair enough.  I'll wait a few years for you to again fear the government.  Of course by then I'll call you a coward and question why you hate America when you do.  Looking forward to it.
 
2014-01-30 02:19:32 PM  

FLMountainMan: Fair enough. I'll wait a few years for you to again fear the government. Of course by then I'll call you a coward and question why you hate America when you do. Looking forward to it.


Kinda like when dipshiats like you called people like me cowards and questioned why I hated America for opposing the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act?

The best part is you're too derped up to see you're arguing against yourself.  You're afraid of the government not doing the right thing.  You're afraid of potential police abuse/brutality/whatever.  So, why the fark aren't you elated that there was a drone video taping the entire thing?

Goddamn you're stupid.
 
2014-01-30 02:30:18 PM  

lennavan: Kinda like when dipshiats like you called people like me cowards and questioned why I hated America for opposing the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act?


One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...

raymondpronk.files.wordpress.com

/More people died on 9/11 than at Pearl Harbor.
//And Pearl Harbor was a military target.
///Just sayin'...
 
2014-01-30 02:40:27 PM  

dittybopper: *OOOH*, I love a good intellectual challenge.


Interesting breakdown.  I think you'd quickly run into some real world complications, (like: what criminal is going to be hiring engineers/ pilots to build and man these systems?, and how will they know when you're being observed?, how will you avoid police jamming? what is the military response after you shoot it down?) but it's a start.  I think you'd have more problems with design and guidance reliability, it's not like you'd be able to test this anywhere.  You'd have to get it right on the first try.  Also you'd be limited by weather and launch locations and times.

Commercial systems exist that can target ground units (http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/lethal-miniature-aerial-m un ition-system-lmams/ is basically something out of Call of Duty ), but I'm not sure if they could do it at altitude.  But I think you are WAY off on the price.  Base components might be a few $k, but factor in tools and custom machining, labor, training, workspace, etc I expect that to grow wildly.

Even at $2,000, it would probably be better to just build a shed.
 
2014-01-30 02:41:24 PM  

dittybopper: lennavan: Kinda like when dipshiats like you called people like me cowards and questioned why I hated America for opposing the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act?

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...

[raymondpronk.files.wordpress.com image 438x300]

/More people died on 9/11 than at Pearl Harbor.
//And Pearl Harbor was a military target.
///Just sayin'...


You think Afghanistan was responsible for 9/11?
 
2014-01-30 02:42:01 PM  

lennavan: FLMountainMan: Fair enough. I'll wait a few years for you to again fear the government. Of course by then I'll call you a coward and question why you hate America when you do. Looking forward to it.

Kinda like when dipshiats like you called people like me cowards and questioned why I hated America for opposing the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act?

The best part is you're too derped up to see you're arguing against yourself.  You're afraid of the government not doing the right thing.  You're afraid of potential police abuse/brutality/whatever.  So, why the fark aren't you elated that there was a drone video taping the entire thing?

Goddamn you're stupid.


LOL.  I'm mocking the exact behavior you're ascribing to me.  And I actually thought I wasn't being subtle enough about it.  Sweet Jesus.
 
2014-01-30 02:51:12 PM  

dittybopper: lennavan: Kinda like when dipshiats like you called people like me cowards and questioned why I hated America for opposing the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act?

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...

[raymondpronk.files.wordpress.com image 438x300]

/More people died on 9/11 than at Pearl Harbor.
//And Pearl Harbor was a military target.
///Just sayin'...


Yeah, but neither the military nor the government of Afghanistan planned, conducted, or carried out the attack.  Did they give some support to the people who did?  Yeah, a bit.  But toppling the entire government of a perpetually unstable country might not have been the best way to address that.
 
2014-01-30 03:50:00 PM  

PanicMan: dittybopper: *OOOH*, I love a good intellectual challenge.

Interesting breakdown.  I think you'd quickly run into some real world complications, (like: what criminal is going to be hiring engineers/ pilots to build and man these systems?, and how will they know when you're being observed?, how will you avoid police jamming? what is the military response after you shoot it down?) but it's a start.  I think you'd have more problems with design and guidance reliability, it's not like you'd be able to test this anywhere.  You'd have to get it right on the first try.  Also you'd be limited by weather and launch locations and times.

Commercial systems exist that can target ground units (http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/lethal-miniature-aerial-m un ition-system-lmams/ is basically something out of Call of Duty ), but I'm not sure if they could do it at altitude.  But I think you are WAY off on the price.  Base components might be a few $k, but factor in tools and custom machining, labor, training, workspace, etc I expect that to grow wildly.

Even at $2,000, it would probably be better to just build a shed.


You can buy off-the-shelf video and control hardware.  Just google "long range fpv system".

Testing it is no more than simply flying a model airplane.  You'd probably want to do it where you won't be noticed, of course, but there are *PLENTY* of places like that in the US and abroad.

In essence, really all you are doing is building a large jet or rocket propelled radio control model airplane.  It's not that complex.  It's well within the capabilities of advanced R/C aircraft builders.  The "guidance system" is you watching the monitor of the video from the airplane and guiding it into the drone.  It literally couldn't be any simpler.

Go to Youtube and search for "FPV RC" to see what can be done with first person view aircraft.  One pointed out that the total cost of his system including the plane was about 2,000 Euros, but he purchased the plane commercially.

Then do a search for "large scale jet RC".

All I'm talking about is essentially combining the two things.

 I still think it could be done for under $4,000 total cost (if you don't include the labor).

The police won't be jamming you.  They have to follow the laws concerning radio emissions so they have neither the authority nor equipment to jam your signals, but of course, if you are doing something nefarious, you don't have to follow the laws.

Military jamming would be a problem, but this was a Border Patrol drone, so the military wasn't involved.

As for a military response, a military response to what?  In all likelihood, the people flying the drone won't know what happened.  The cameras point downward, so unless they actually catch you launching the thing, they are unlikely to see it.  Exception:  The rocket method, which produces an impressive smoke trail.

But as I pointed out, the problem isn't coming up with something like this, the problem is actually spotting the drone in the first place.  And I don't have a good answer for that one.
 
2014-01-30 03:56:56 PM  

FLMountainMan: dittybopper: lennavan: Kinda like when dipshiats like you called people like me cowards and questioned why I hated America for opposing the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act?

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...

[raymondpronk.files.wordpress.com image 438x300]

/More people died on 9/11 than at Pearl Harbor.
//And Pearl Harbor was a military target.
///Just sayin'...

Yeah, but neither the military nor the government of Afghanistan planned, conducted, or carried out the attack.  Did they give some support to the people who did?  Yeah, a bit.  But toppling the entire government of a perpetually unstable country might not have been the best way to address that.


They *SHELTERED* the people who did it.   When we requested that they hand them over, they refused.  At that point, you have gone from being a bystander to an active participant on the other side.

So it doesn't really matter that the government of Afghanistan wasn't involved in 9/11, anymore than it was important that Germany didn't have a clue that Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor.  When you hew to the enemy, you become the enemy.

It's a pretty simple concept.

Now, I've got zero problems with people talking about Iraq being an unnecessary war.  I get it, and to a degree, at least, I actually agree with that standpoint.

Afghanistan is a completely different story.  The attack was planned and controlled from Afghanistan.  We tried to be all nice and civilized and said to the Taliban "Please hand over ObL and his minions to face criminal trial in the United States for mass murder".

They refused.

So what the fark should we have done otherwise?  You tell me what the response should have been.
 
2014-01-30 03:58:34 PM  

lennavan: You think Afghanistan was responsible for 9/11?


See my post immediately above.

When you hew to the enemy, providing them shelter, you become the enemy yourself.
 
2014-01-30 04:44:02 PM  

dittybopper: All I'm talking about is essentially combining the two things.


And that could require some heavy systems engineering.  Maybe that would be easy for an enthousiast with an engineering backround, but now you're talking about rocket science here. But that's years of experience and probably a few other practice aircraft you learned on.  So add that to the cost.

dittybopper: Testing it is no more than simply flying a model airplane.


I'm talking about complete system testing your design at altitude to make sure the cameras aren't affected, you don't lose control with atmospheric conditions, or a dozen other unforseen issues.  And also that you can fly into a moving target.  You're trying to hit something moving at 100 MPH with enough force to break it.  That's not going to be easy, you'd need high speed and high control and good judgement. You're not quite at the "hit a bullet with a bullet" type math problem, but it's along the same lines.

dittybopper: As for a military response, a military response to what?


Losing a multi-million dollar piece of hardware.  Someone's gonna start asking some hard questions and pulling in some big resources.
 
2014-01-30 04:58:36 PM  

dittybopper: See my post immediately above.


Will do.

dittybopper: They *SHELTERED* the people who did it. When we requested that they hand them over, they refused. At that point, you have gone from being a bystander to an active participant on the other side.


Fine but what does this have to do with Edward Snowden?

dittybopper: So it doesn't really matter that the government of Afghanistan wasn't involved in 9/11, anymore than it was important that Germany didn't have a clue that Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor. When you hew to the enemy, you become the enemy.


Alright, so Russia is the enemy now?

dittybopper: Afghanistan is a completely different story. The attack was planned and controlled from Afghanistan. We tried to be all nice and civilized and said to the Taliban "Please hand over ObL and his minions to face criminal trial in the United States for mass murder".


Kinda like Snowden for treason?  You know Snowden still has a lot more of our national secrets and he is currently in Russia, right?  He can do a hell of a lot more damage.  So should we invade or what?

dittybopper: So what the fark should we have done otherwise? You tell me what the response should have been.


You know Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan, right?  How the fark does knowing that key detail after saying that's why we invaded Afghanistan make any goddamn sense to you?  We invaded Afghanistan because totes believed he was there but oopsie, our bad!  We so cray-cray.
 
2014-01-30 05:21:29 PM  

lennavan: You know Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan, right?  How the fark does knowing that key detail after saying that's why we invaded Afghanistan make any goddamn sense to you?  We invaded Afghanistan because totes believed he was there but oopsie, our bad!  We so cray-cray.


What are you on about? There's nothing 'crazy' about it. OBL was in Afghanistan; the Afghani government acknowledged it at the time, and he was still there when we invaded that country. When we finally did track him down in Pakistan, we "invaded" that country to get him. The respective sizes of the raiding parties notwithstanding, there was no difference in the legal definitions of what we did.
 
2014-01-30 09:45:06 PM  

dittybopper: In essence, really all you are doing is building a large jet or rocket propelled radio control model airplane. It's not that complex. It's well within the capabilities of advanced R/C aircraft builders.


If you want it to be able to hit another aircraft, yes it is.

lennavan: dittybopper: They *SHELTERED* the people who did it. When we requested that they hand them over, they refused. At that point, you have gone from being a bystander to an active participant on the other side.

Fine but what does this have to do with Edward Snowden?


You brought up snowden. Or are you so stupid and or dishonest you think a whistleblower/or even a spy is on par with a ringleader of a terrorist group who was allowed to train and plan groups who have directly caused the death of thousands of americans?
 
2014-01-31 07:47:30 AM  

liam76: dittybopper: In essence, really all you are doing is building a large jet or rocket propelled radio control model airplane. It's not that complex. It's well within the capabilities of advanced R/C aircraft builders.

If you want it to be able to hit another aircraft, yes it is.



Not really.

All you need is a real-time camera in the nose transmitting back images.  You just have to watch the monitor on the ground and steer the R/C aircraft into the drone.

Remember, we're talking about hitting a target that whose top speed is slower than the cruising speed of a Cessna-152 combined with the turning radius of a wide-body jet airliner*.

Another advantage the R/C 'pilot' has over the drone pilot is that he can control his aircraft pretty much instantaneously.   The delay caused by the speed of light at 5 miles is negligible.

Due to the nature of the Predator's control system, through a satellite, there is a (22,236+22,236)/186,000 = ~1/4 second delay in signal from the drone up to the satellite and back down to the control van, *AND* a subsequent delay in transmitting a command from the van up to the satellite and back down to the drone.  That's almost half a second delay.  This is why the Predator requires a high degree of automation, because if it didn't have that the delay would make it very hard to control.   Pilot-induced oscillation would be a major problem.

That means that a locally controlled RC aircraft with just a *SLIGHT* speed advantage and just a *SLIGHT* maneuverability advantage at altitude is going to be able to target something like a Predator drone rather easily, because there is a built-in half-second delay that the Predator pilot has to deal with that the RC pilot doesn't have to deal with.

Plus, due to the nature of the Predator's cameras, the pilot can't see up and to the rear of the drone.  That's the direction from which you would preferably attack.

And you don't have to completely destroy it, either:  A "mission kill", where you merely damage it enough so that the drone pilot breaks off and flies it back home is good enough.   It might even be possible to "scare" them off.  If they see a large RC plane repeatedly trying to ram them (and it would probably take several attempts), they're likely going to try to get the drone out of the danger area because they cost about $4 million apiece.

One big caveat, though:  This technique would be effective against the MQ-1 Predator drone.  It would not be effective against the much bigger, higher flying, and faster MQ-9 Reaper, which looks similar to the Predator.


*That's an exaggeration, but slow speed, higher altitude, and high aspect ratio wings don't make for a particularly tight turning radius.
 
2014-01-31 07:51:22 AM  

lennavan: dittybopper: They *SHELTERED* the people who did it. When we requested that they hand them over, they refused. At that point, you have gone from being a bystander to an active participant on the other side.

Fine but what does this have to do with Edward Snowden?


Nothing.

Apparently, you don't realize there is a difference between killing 3,000 innocent civilians and stealing 30,000 classified documents.  But thank you for trying.
 
2014-01-31 08:58:20 AM  

PanicMan: dittybopper: All I'm talking about is essentially combining the two things.

And that could require some heavy systems engineering.  Maybe that would be easy for an enthousiast with an engineering backround, but now you're talking about rocket science here. But that's years of experience and probably a few other practice aircraft you learned on.  So add that to the cost.


You mean "a few other aircraft", like a typical advanced R/C enthusiast might have built as a hobby  before he or she tries to tackle a project like this?

Why would you add that to the cost? That would be like adding the cost of the P-38, F-80, F-104, and U-2 to the development costs of the SR-71.  Clearly ridiculous.  The knowledge gained from previously built projects, and from looking up what others have done, shouldn't really count.

It's clear you're looking at this from the perspective that it's a governmental-type project.  It's not.

dittybopper: Testing it is no more than simply flying a model airplane.

I'm talking about complete system testing your design at altitude to make sure the cameras aren't affected, you don't lose control with atmospheric conditions, or a dozen other unforseen issues.  And also that you can fly into a moving target.  You're trying to hit something moving at 100 MPH with enough force to break it.  That's not going to be easy, you'd need high speed and high control and good judgement. You're not quite at the "hit a bullet with a bullet" type math problem, but it's along the same lines.


Yes, because it's plainly just too difficult to get an FPV piloted remote control aircraft up to 16,000+ feet.

I mean, it's not like talented model airplane enthusiasts have built autonomous model airplanes that have crossed the Atlantic, or high speed, high altitude autonomous gliders launched from balloons, or rockets that have reached 121,000 feet in altitude.

dittybopper: As for a military response, a military response to what?

Losing a multi-million dollar piece of hardware.  Someone's gonna start asking some hard questions and pulling in some big resources.


Yeah, but it takes time for that to happen.

Now, if you're stuck in a compound somewhere, that's bad.  You are a fixed target.  To quote Matthew Quigley, "You're gut-shot Hobb.  Nothin' I can do for you".

But if you're mobile, by the time whatever entity manages to figure out what happened, you're no longer where you were.  Remember, this was a *BORDER PATROL* drone, not a military drone.
 
2014-01-31 09:56:00 AM  
I think that the main reason something like that hasn't been tried by Al Qaeda is largely that if you've got the time, money, and access to resources to actually build something like what I'm talking about, you have very little incentive to try and kill anybody through terrorism in the first place.

So the people *CAPABLE* of doing this sort of thing (or even of conceiving it) aren't the same sort of people willing to go through the trouble of doing it for nefarious purposes.

The canonical example of a guy with the talent to do something nefarious, but without the motivation to actually employ it for nefarious purposes, is the "Do-It-Yourself Cruise Missile" guy.  He figured out that with modern electronics and amateur construction techniques, an individual could build an effective cruise missile with a range of at least 100 miles and an accuracy of within 100 yards or so, that could carry a 20+ lb payload, and that could be launched by 1 person from the back of a pick-up truck going 70 MPH on a deserted road.

His work got shut down by the US and NZ governments after he had nearly finished the airframe, but the *ONLY* reason it got noticed by those respective governments is that he was publishing what he was doing, and they didn't want organizations to be able to accomplish this sort of thing by simply following the instructions.

The sorts of things that governments required huge research and development efforts to accomplish back during, say, WWII and the Cold War can in many cases today, thanks to advances in modern technology, be accomplished by talented individuals or small groups of individuals spending a comparative pittance.

Consider this:  You could build a somewhat less efficient version of the model airplane that flew across the Atlantic Ocean.  Say it's only about 2/3rds as efficient as the version that flew across the Atlantic, and you devote just 1/3rd of the available fuel capacity of the original to fuel capacity in your version.  Instead of a range of about 1,900 miles, you'll have a range of just a bit over 400 miles.  You'd have about 5 lbs available for fuel *AND* payload, of which about 3.4 lbs would be strictly payload (the rest is fuel for the 400 mile range).

You can do a lot of nefarious stuff with 3.4 lbs worth of payload.

You could make the plane a big downward pointing claymore mine that you would detonate over a crowded street (autonomously, of course).  You could disperse a bunch of mildly radioactive materials and send everybody in a city in a panic.  You could randomly drop small incendiary devices (especially in drought-stricken area).

Heck, you could even have the plane (laboriously) climb up to a high altitude (say, 5,000 or 6,000 feet) and just have it drop 3.4 lbs of lead musket balls.  A .615" (20 caliber) lead ball has a terminal velocity of about 400 feet per second at 1 g and STP.  Each projectile would have the equivalent energy of a .22 LR bullet at the muzzle, obviously lethal.  And you'd be dropping more than 60 of them.

If you dropped 2 ounce sharpened, fin-stabilized steel rods, they would hit a terminal velocity of about 950 feet per second.  While you'd only be dropping 24 of them, each would have more energy than the bullet from an AR-15.

And since the plane has a small radar signature and flies at around 40 MPH airspeed, if they do manage to image it on radar it will look like a bird.

BTW, you can buy open source off-the-shelf GPS enabled autopilots, along with the firmware and software to program them, for RC aircraft now.

That greatly simplifies the problems of integrating the control systems with the airframe.  It's already been done, essentially.

And since you've got a (hypothetical) 400 mile range, you can 'dog-leg' the aircraft so that if they do manage to eventually analyze the final part of its flight, it will appear to have come from a different area from where you launched it.  Plus, at 40 MPH and a 400 mile range, it's going to take 10 hours for the plane to reach its target, which is plenty of time for you to be hundreds of miles away from the launch point when it hits.

But like I said, the types of people who gain the ability to do this sort of thing, or even have the ability to conceive of such things, aren't generally the same sorts of people who wish to employ their knowledge to harm innocents, and for that, we should be thankful.
 
2014-01-31 09:58:35 AM  

dittybopper: A .615" (20 caliber gauge) lead ball


FTFM.  I meant to say a .615" caliber (20 gauge).
 
2014-01-31 10:33:11 AM  

dittybopper: Why would you add that to the cost?


Ah!  I just figured out our communication problem.  You are talking what it would cost for an enthousaist to become a criminal, where I am talking what it would take a criminal to become an enthousiast.
 
2014-01-31 11:58:34 AM  

PanicMan: dittybopper: Why would you add that to the cost?

Ah!  I just figured out our communication problem.  You are talking what it would cost for an enthousaist to become a criminal, where I am talking what it would take a criminal to become an enthousiast.


Yep.

We were looking at it from different ends.

Like I said, though, if you're an enthusiast, it's unlikely that you'll put your knowledge to nefarious ends, because the free time and the money involved to become something like that means that you've got a pretty easy life, which means you probably aren't willing to take a chance at throwing it all away.

Having said that, the amount of knowledge and skills one must amass to do something like that are rapidly falling, as are the actual monetary costs involved.  It's all been done by others, and pre-packaged for you, to a large degree.  You don't have to be an engineering student to build an small cruise missile anymore (like my 400 mile, 3 lb payload R/C aircraft example).  And we wouldn't be able to effectively deal with it:  *NONE* of our anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems are designed for a target like that.

One of my other ideas is even simpler:  Using GPS to make historically ineffective  balloon bombs more effective by ensuring they only drop their payloads over populated areas.

And the payloads can be as prosaic as lead balls or fin-stabilized, sharpened steel rods.
 
2014-01-31 11:59:19 AM  

dittybopper: I think that the main reason something like that hasn't been tried by Al Qaeda is largely that if you've got the time, money, and access to resources to actually build something like what I'm talking about, you have very little incentive to try and kill anybody through terrorism in the first place.

So the people *CAPABLE* of doing this sort of thing (or even of conceiving it) aren't the same sort of people willing to go through the trouble of doing it for nefarious purposes.

The canonical example of a guy with the talent to do something nefarious, but without the motivation to actually employ it for nefarious purposes, is the "Do-It-Yourself Cruise Missile" guy.  He figured out that with modern electronics and amateur construction techniques, an individual could build an effective cruise missile with a range of at least 100 miles and an accuracy of within 100 yards or so, that could carry a 20+ lb payload, and that could be launched by 1 person from the back of a pick-up truck going 70 MPH on a deserted road.

His work got shut down by the US and NZ governments after he had nearly finished the airframe, but the *ONLY* reason it got noticed by those respective governments is that he was publishing what he was doing, and they didn't want organizations to be able to accomplish this sort of thing by simply following the instructions.

The sorts of things that governments required huge research and development efforts to accomplish back during, say, WWII and the Cold War can in many cases today, thanks to advances in modern technology, be accomplished by talented individuals or small groups of individuals spending a comparative pittance.

Consider this:  You could build a somewhat less efficient version of the model airplane that flew across the Atlantic Ocean.  Say it's only about 2/3rds as efficient as the version that flew across the Atlantic, and you devote just 1/3rd of the available fuel capacity of the original to fuel capacity in your version.  Instead of a ran ...


dittybopper will be right back...he had to answer the door. ;^)
 
2014-01-31 12:05:29 PM  

dittybopper: Having said that, the amount of knowledge and skills one must amass to do something like that are rapidly falling, as are the actual monetary costs involved.  It's all been done by others, and pre-packaged for you, to a large degree.  You don't have to be an engineering student to build an small cruise missile anymore (like my 400 mile, 3 lb payload R/C aircraft example).  And we wouldn't be able to effectively deal with it:  *NONE* of our anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems are designed for a target like that.


All joking aside, I am involved peripherally in the UAS space and I am convinced that the terrorism angle is THE reason the FAA are shiating their collective pants over commercial UAVs. They and other USG 3-letter agencies stay up at night having nightmares about terrorist flying repurposed RC airplanes into infrastructure, crowds, white houses, etc.

BRB...door.
 
2014-01-31 12:49:50 PM  

Stone Meadow: dittybopper will be right back...he had to answer the door. ;^)


Nope.  Still here.
 
2014-01-31 03:05:48 PM  

dittybopper: Stone Meadow: dittybopper will be right back...he had to answer the door. ;^)

Nope.  Still here.


Hope my comment came off correctly...I was trying to make a joke about the black helicopter guys coming to bag you for talking about bad things. And if it wasn't clear, I agree with your analysis.
 
2014-01-31 03:25:02 PM  

Stone Meadow: dittybopper: Stone Meadow: dittybopper will be right back...he had to answer the door. ;^)

Nope.  Still here.

Hope my comment came off correctly...I was trying to make a joke about the black helicopter guys coming to bag you for talking about bad things. And if it wasn't clear, I agree with your analysis.


Nah, I recognize the joke, largely because every time I go off on my little devious flights of fancy, some one makes it.

There are a *WHOLE* lot of things I've thought about as an intellectual exercise that I wouldn't think of doing in real life.  Some of them are pretty fun:  Given an opponent with X capability, how would stymie that advantage?

Often, if the opponent is using high-tech, low tech unconventional means can offset that advantage to a large degree.  Not always, but often.

For example, you can largely prevent the NSA from gaining the plaintext of your secret messages through things like keyloggers, trojans, and other hardware and software attacks on your computers/phones/etc. through the simple expedient of encrypting and decrypting with pencil and paper, and burning the paper.  That forces them to use cryptanalysis, and that's a much more manageable thing:  You can use manual ciphers that resist cryptanalysis for a given amount of traffic, and indeed the one time pad system is only truly secure when done that way.
 
2014-01-31 03:44:11 PM  

dittybopper: Stone Meadow: Hope my comment came off correctly...I was trying to make a joke about the black helicopter guys coming to bag you for talking about bad things. And if it wasn't clear, I agree with your analysis.

Nah, I recognize the joke, largely because every time I go off on my little devious flights of fancy, some one makes it.

There are a *WHOLE* lot of things I've thought about as an intellectual exercise that I wouldn't think of doing in real life.


The 'joke' of course is that it's not outside the realm of the possible for just such a scenario to occur. Witness the dude with the homemade cruise missile. Although IIRC in his case he didn't attract any 'official attention' until he started advertising for customers when he couldn't raise funds to build the prototype. Something about "my services are available to any reasonable bidder".
 
2014-01-31 05:12:08 PM  

Stone Meadow: The 'joke' of course is that it's not outside the realm of the possible for just such a scenario to occur. Witness the dude with the homemade cruise missile. Although IIRC in his case he didn't attract any 'official attention' until he started advertising for customers when he couldn't raise funds to build the prototype. Something about "my services are available to any reasonable bidder".


Actually, as I recall, he was asking for donations *AFTER* the NZ government shut the project down, because they also prevented him from doing things like licensing the XJet, his design for a very efficient and long-reed life pulsejet.

It's not like he was saying "Hey guys, give me money, and I'll build you a missile!".  He was just asking for donations for a project he was documenting online.

Here is his website, btw:

http://aardvark.co.nz/pjet/
 
2014-01-31 06:11:50 PM  

dittybopper: Here is his website, btw:

http://aardvark.co.nz/pjet/


Yeah, that's the guy. I notice his website hasn't been updated in 5 years...
 
2014-01-31 09:56:10 PM  
This happened in "Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?"
 
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