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14 September 2019

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Eric Newhill

Walrus,
What about elevated terrain features, power lines, buildings, trees, etc?

If they're just pre-programming a GPS, then the defense against them is easy. Put up a high fence and the mindless blind things will just fly into the fence.

It makes more sense - to me at least - to have relay stations every 200KM or so and/or an FO near the target "painting" it and/or doing some final guidance onto target with a laptop (or some similar device) connected to the drone's electronic eye.

turcopolier

eakens
The hits are all from the same angle.
looks like aimed fire.

walrus

Damage assessment seems to me to prove the Houthis did it, not Iran. Images allegedly showing what was hit at Abqaiq are on zerohedge and maybe elsewhere. If real, they appear to me to be very revealing. Google Earth shows the general arrangement of the plant.

1. What was targeted were spherical (therefore under pressure) storage tanks that probably contained LPG. These are the most “lethal “ assets in the plant in terms of potential for fire and explosion. If you are “lucky” and start a fire that heats one of these things, you can trigger a boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion - a BLEVE in firefighters terms that can level square miles and kill a lot of people. So whoever did the targeting knew what to aim for. Guess which tanks are going to be most difficult to repair too.

2. Each of the eleven tanks that appear to have been hit have what appears to be about a ten foot hole in the upper hemisphere which must have been delivered in a diving attack. This demonstrates impressive accuracy and consistency. This suggests to me either some sort of terminal guidance and a sophisticated autopilot or perhaps differential or WAAS(aviation grade) GPS because I don’t believe you can get that accuracy with a cheap off the shelf civilian GPS.

3. Each of the tanks has ONE hole. That is accuracy again, such economy!

4. The puncture holes are all aligned on the South west quadrant of the tanks! That suggests that if these drones flew straight line courses, then they came from the direction of Yemen. However the sophistication of the attack COULD mean that an Iranian launching site is still possible and that the drones were programmed to start their attacks from an initial point to the Southwest so as to disguise the perpetrator.

All together a pretty good display of offensive capabilities. The Saudi Princes must be thankful the targets weren’t palace bedrooms.

Disclaimer: I is an amateur at BDA.


https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/declassified-satellite-images-reveal-it-would-take-months-fix-saudi-oil-facility

Amir

And the drones flew South-East wards, through the Clown Prince’s defensive ring, the. took a turn 180 towards northwest (Are you staying that this maneuver increases the accuracy?) & hit the installation from a direction coming from Yemen? Instead of coming from Yemen to begin with, avoiding Muhammad Bone Saw’s air defences and in a straight line?

Amir

Forgot the link: www.globalsecurity.org/jhtml/jframe.html#https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/gulf/images/map-peace-shield-02.jpg|||Saudi%20Arabia%20Peace%20Shield%20Map

JamesT

I beg to disagree, Vegetius. They will not call them Nazis they will call them "Russian agents".

Amir

Even if the Houthis or for that matter Iranians had done this, Clown Prince got what he deserved. Those aliens returns a favor 18 tears too late but at least around the time of the 911 Memorial.
Rather telling that those sandal-wearing peasants gave the Al Saud family, what the US military didn’t/was not allowed to: images.app.goo.gl/CgZ77s7NpXb7VSYR8

oldman22

"US and Saudi officials, still amid an ongoing investigation, have told reporters they are "certain" the attack actually originated from Iraq, especially as the debris and precision targeting show a level of "sophistication" which would link it to Iran's elite IRGC."
from the same article posted by Walrus above
https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/declassified-satellite-images-reveal-it-would-take-months-fix-saudi-oil-facility

Amir

Reservoirs are of no importance. Pumping station are the choke point as there is a limited capacity to replace/repair them. Obviously any repair/replacement is feasible but it takes time:
Pump station #1 goo.gl/maps/pGxUbJQGfAZ3aVkN6
Buqayq goo.gl/maps/X3ou6iGSuKz64AsX7
mages.app.goo.gl/2ihHw6RgsH59Mzvh7

The Twisted Genius

Barbara Ann, not being an engineer we can learn together. I'm convinced an understandable explanation of this technology and how it can be implemented will be found in the hobbyist world. There's a lot of autonomous drone projects for Arduino and RasberryPi microcontrollers. I found this one video on the Pixy2 Camera for image recognition for the Arduino and RasberryPi. I haven't watched the whole video yet, but I intend to. This is not just an FPV system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=140&v=391dXDjqzXA

"The Pixy2 is a low cost yet powerful camera that is capable of object recognition, line tracking and simple barcode reading. The device is the latest iteration of the Pixy Cam, a project built by Charmed Labs in conjunction with the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. With a variety of interfaces and lots of code libraries and samples the Pixy2 can be used with an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone Black or just about any computer, microcomputer or microcontroller."

"In this video I will show you how the Pixy2 works, how to hook it up and how to train it using software called PixyMon which runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. I’ll then show you how to easily hook up your Pixy2 to an Arduino and run code to detect object, lines, intersections and simple barcodes. Thanks to its onboard processor the coding for Pixy2 is very simple. It provides a very easy method of adding vision to your next Arduino or Raspberry Pi project."

JohnH

Don't forget that Iraq was made responsible for 9/11 before Iran was. The guilty party is whoever the politicians decide they want it to be...

Christian J Chuba

How did the Houthis beat Saudi air defenses?
From B's website, the observation that most of the Saudi air defenses are on the Persion Gulf coast line makes sense to me, of course they are most worried about Iran and it would refute the argument about 'how could the Houthis get by Saudi air defenses'. Answer: because they did not expect an attack from that direction in that part of their country. I doubt very much that Iran would take a chance in making their own drone attack. If they did, well, the Iranians demonstrate yet again that the Persian Gulf is their lake (as would their infiltration of the UAE port without detection).

Iran just attacked 5% of the 'World's oil supply'
Good God, the caterwauling about this makes me wretch. Why are Saudi exports the 'world oil supply' but Trump driving Iranian exports to 0 because he wants his own piece of paper not considered the 'world's oil supply'. I hate politicians and their sock puppets in the MSM.

Free Ad for U.S. military exports
The Saudis must really be glad that they spent all of those billions on U.S. miltiary HW. I love how all of the talking heads are dismissing this as an unforseen jump in technology. The Russians have had dozens of drone attacks at their military base in Syria and have thwarted them with great efficiency. If the Russians had our temperament they would be rubbing our noses in it.

JP Billen

Walrus, where are the scorch marks on those spheroid tanks?

Eric Newhill

I think if you are capable of that level of accuracy, then you could have the drones attack from any angle and direction you want to. If you attack from the east and want to make it look like they came from the West, it wouldn't be a problem.

michaelj72

FYI thirteen photos are in a side show here, at the very top of the news article, at this AP news story entitled


Trump: US locked and loaded for response to attack on Saudis

https://apnews.com/269744b35e16422fa746b0c1504ceb4f

Tidewater

I think it's worse than that. If you knock out Abqaig you knock out most of Saudi Arabia's oil production. Abqaiq is a choke point.

How do you do that? Simple. You knock out Qurayyah.

What does Qurayyah have to do with Abqaig? Plenty. It looks to me like that that is where Abqaiq gets it water from.

What does water supply have to do with Abqaiq? Do you mean drinking water? Couldn't that be trucked in during an emergency?

No, it's more than that. There's so much steam involved it sounds like the Robert E. Lee.

Abqaiq Plants facility is made up of three primary processing units. The first is an oil processing unit. The second is an NGL facility. (NGL separates natural gas liquids from natural gas.) The third is the Utilities unit.

The Utilities unit is the one we are interested in. This unit supplies power, steam, treated water and instrument air to the oil and NGL operations.

Six generators provide the power for the Utilities unit. Three of these are steam turbines and three are combustion gas turbine generators. There are fourteen boilers. Steam from these boilers is supplied to the oil processing unit, NGL facility, turbines and compressors.

The plant needs sixteen reverse osmosis units to treat the water which flows to the plant. (Nota bene.) This provides demineralised water, water that is also potable. This water is also what makes the boilers and heat recovery steam generators produce the necessary steam.

Of course, the water produced by the plant's reverse osmosis system is used as drinking water for plant personnel and for the neighboring Abqaiq community.

There are two steam-driven and three motor-driven air compressors, and these are what provides instrument air. Control valves at the Abqaiq Plant are operated by this instrument.

But why does Abqaig use reverse osmosis systems--16 of them? Wouldn't you think it would be connected to a desalination plant over on the Gulf and given its own dedicated pipe line? Or even be given a second pipe line all the way up to whereever you can hook into, maybe even as far as Al Khobar? Say forty miles? This to build redundancy into the water supply system? Extra pipe-line being a small price for security.

The plant has reverse osmosis systems because the water it is getting remains saline, even though it has been processed. What I think has happened here is that the Qurayyah plant provided so much water for the Ghawar oil field and the Khurais oil field, and there are so many powerful gas turbine water pumps moving the water wherever it is designated to go, that ARAMCO simply extended a pipeline to Abqaiq and let the Qurayyah plant--a superbly functioning system on a grand scale--go ahead and be the water provider for the most critical plant in the Kingdom. So the Qurayyah treated saline water is run through reverse osmosis treatment once it gets inland to Abqaig and then is put to use. Without this processed water, it seems unnecessary to say, the Abqaiq plant will have to be shut down.

ARAMCO thought of everything I suppose, with regards to Qurayyah, but not existential war with a neighboring nation that has the Yakhont missile, its own indigenously manufactured missiles, drones and submarines.

I don't think the builders of the Saudi Arabia oil fields ever even bothered to think about what war would mean for them.

As to how an attack could be made on Qurayyah, that is another matter--or rather speculation, like this one-- but I cannot think of a better place for any adversary of Saudi Arabia to concentrate a strike on than this power station, seawater treatment plant and the other critical facilities there.

I submit again my conclusion: knock out Qurayyah and you will knock out most of Saudi Arabia's oil and LNG production; at any rate, the amount that goes through Abqaq.

Sounds crazy, don't it?


Johnb

I believe there were more vulnerable targets on site and they were the intended targets, I thought as TTG said that once the drone arrived over target it received some additional assistance to hit the most vulnerable targets.
The images here show pinpoint targeting to my eye.
https://southfront.org/satellite-images-impact-of-houthis-strike-on-saudi-oil-infrastructure-on-september-14/

MisanthropicUSA

Against missiles and drones it should be effective if a competent crew are using it. That said, in Saudi hands...

JJackson

TTG re. "The Houthi statement about the attack indicated intelligence gathered from the target area."

That was the bit I had picked up on, I forget the wording, but was left with the impression they were thanking on, or near, site operatives who controlled the terminal guidance by one of the methods already discussed.

BrotherJoe

What does this say about our own vulnerability to these types of attacks ?

Terence Gore

"1. What was targeted were spherical (therefore under pressure) storage tanks that probably contained LPG. These are the most “lethal “ assets in the plant in terms of potential for fire and explosion. "

0 for 4 in massive explosions according to picture in link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr15rPHEmeQ

propane tank explosion video

Norbert M Salamon

If you use the larger display you can read English subtitles indicating steps and clarifying special operations from blue print to Plan B when Plan a did not solve problem.

JJackson

This one shows amazing precision.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-49712417

Fred

Amir,

A burning oil reservoir makes great television and one's message is broadcast across the world. Repeatedly. The Yemenis can always fire another salvo at a higher value target.

prawnik

Even if MBS got the message, how can he climb down so without losing face? I am not the greatest expert on the Saudis, but I know that this is a culture in which shame and honor are critical.

Not only that, but MBS has just gotten a very big and very very public bloody nose.

He escalates, expect more attacks. He backs down and he looks weak, and he cannot afford to be seen as weak.

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