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14 September 2019


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Since I lived among the Zaidi tribesmen I am unlikely to "sell them short." So, your vision of this version of the weapon system is something like the German V-1 as b said but with GPS guidance to the target area where some on board camera system is used to have a processor direct the missile to a specific target. How would the processor recognize the right target?


Eric if the thing has GPS, you can preprogram it to go anywhere in. the world by any route you like and it will fly it to within about 30 feet accuracy. A GPS with a USB or serial output is less than $200.


Google Earth is all you need to target something that big.



Yes. you said that before. 30 ft. isn't good enough when you wantto hit a particular kind of target from a particular aspect.


Current GPS give location, speed, heading, altitude, signal quality, accuracy/precision as an NMEA serial or USB data stream at anything up to five times per second, every smartphone and most tablets have one. You can also buy a “puck” receiver $17.99 at Amazon. that gets you thirty feet accuracy anywhere in the world, you don’t need a data link. This is child’s play.



Col. Lang, what if your target is a 150ft diameter oil storage tank? Google earth says many tanks are about 160ft diameter.


Can't help rooting for the Houthi in this fight, but now the geo-political implications are getting serious.

I really hope the US accusations against Iran are just an attempt to get the Persians to reign in the Houthis a bit, but I'm not sure the US is capable of such subtlety right now. It's much more likely that the NeoCons are still looking for any excuse to bomb Iran.

OTOH, Iran has a good reason to slow-walk the demise of the KSA. Iran's best defense against US threats of annihilation is holding KSA hostage. If Yemen beats KSA too quickly - or blows up too much of the oil infrastructure - Iran loses that card and becomes much more vulnerable.

Babak Makkinejad

I think it was in 2006 during a public speech that Ayatollah Khamenei warned the United States the she could not prtotect the oil installations of Southern Persian Gulf. Someone in USG was listening, none are todat.


something like the German V-1 as b said but with GPS guidance to the target area where some on board camera system is used to have a processor direct the missile to a specific target. How would the processor recognize the right target?

A stored aerial picture (Google Earth) of the target will do. The live picture of a down looking camera in the drone can be compared to that. This would also allow for waypoint navigation guiding the flight (should GPS fail).

When the object is found the vehicle can spiral down until it hits the ground. There are several other ways this could be done.

I have a €100 Samsung cellphone/tablet on my desk. It would be fully sufficient for this purpose and would only need an interface to the servos. That is easy to build for someone with a bit of knowledge of electronics.

The Houthi have said that they had intelligence on the ground. That was probably only to make the Saudis more paranoid. But it could also mean that someone on the ground did the end guidance to the target. The cellphone on the drone might call someone up when it is near the strike area.

When the Houthi attacked Dubai airport it definitely looked as if they had someone on the ground directing the drone in its last flightphase.

The Twisted Genius

It's the same technology that's used in self-driving cars. Some model airplanes can self land using something similar with an onboard camera. Another possibility, based on the Houthi claim of having "advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free mans within the Kingdom," is that the the precise target within the complex is designated by a laser designator or emplaced beacon. That's something we did in the early 80s.

JP Billen

My two cents on guidance is that JohnB's comment @ 8:55 regarding forward targeting is correct. Probably Bahrani Shia in or near the oil processing facilities controlled the final flight path. You can expect another Saudi mass arrest and repression of their Shia minorities.

The Saudis & Emiratis are feckless in shutting down these attacks. They have tried to take out what they thought was the nest at the al-Dulami (al-Delmi) airfield within Sana'a International. That was a waste of time. AnsarAllah has their assembly sites well hidden and their launch sites well dispersed.

Trump has called bin Salman to offer support. I had thought that with Bolton gone that we might relax a little. But Pomp and Granny Graham appear to be taking up the slack. Will we now commit AWACS and overhead assets? Or worse, kinetic means? Strange that Pomp is claiming the attack originated in Iran. Or maybe not so strange as he probably got that call from Bibi.



While it is fascinating what the “zaidi tribesmen” can accomplish technologically the implications could be far reaching in their conflict with MbS. Especially if they can scale these types of attacks to hundreds.

The hysteria around Saudi oil production cuts very likely has been over done. I don’t think a few tanks and a few processing facilities being destroyed means that 5% of global oil production has gone offline.


As an engineer familiar with the tech, cell phones now have all the needed ingredients to make the guts of a high accuracy drone guidance system.

Multi core, fast, processors. Globally available open source code to put together control systems linked to gps and image recognition. Programmed to establish a low altitude flight path along regions that would minimize probability of detection and interception/countermeasures. Stuff that would cost a fortune a couple decades ago now is dirt cheap and available everywhere. What isn't is any sort of remote control and guidance outside of a very short range.

Barbara Ann


Could you possibly expand upon "..camera-based guidance to hit the specific targets within the complex"? GPS to get there is trivial these days, but you seem to be referring to some sort of autonomous image recognition software for the terminal guidance system. This sounds highly sophisticated to me, if so. AFAIK the camera-based guidance systems used by model aircraft hobbyists are FPV systems which simply relay camera images to the ground-based 'pilot'. These rely on a UHF(?) and AFAIK are infeasible for the sort of ranges suggested here. Forgive me if I have misinterpreted your comment.


I wonder if they had insurance.


Were drones were launched from Iraq? Offical says yes, Iraqi government says no.

"The Iraqi intelligence official refused to say which bases Saturday’s drones were launched from.

However, he confirmed that the distance between southern Iraq and the Saudi oilfields was about half the distance the drones would have had to fly had they been launched from Houthi bases in northern Yemen.

He said the drones had to travel between 500km and 600km, where as if they had been fired from Houthi bases they would have had to cover a distance of between 1,100km and 1,300km."

“It was not the Houthis. These were Iranian drones launched from Hashd al-Shaabi bases.”



FYI some said that it was a cruise missile that took out the Saudi pumping station: twitter.com/mbks15/status/1172888561730936832?s=21

“... some KH-55 genetics but not Soumar. Looks cheap/USSR era, could be one KH-55 Ukraine sold in the 90's retrofitted as land missile or pictures were taken in Syria and shows KH-55 fired by Russia few ago...”



I'm a little bit skeptical about your claim that "those camera-based guidance systems are also used by model aircraft hobbyists", but clearly there are researchers building applicable systems and I followed the trail from the youtube video you linked to ... to a publications list of professor Tim McLain.

It includes titles like "Visual Servoing for Multirotor Precision Landing in Daylight and After-Dark Conditions".

I'll bet there are some open source repositories where he or others are publishing the code they are producing as part of their research. Clearly Long Range Precision Strike is proliferating, and I am confident that the rate of proliferation will only accelerate.


If young whites come out to demonstrate against a war with Iraq, the usual suspects will call them Nazis.

What I want to know is : will older people fall for this trick or will they speak up for their grandkid's civil rights?


Some Russian guy build a turbo jet plane in his garage. The engine is made from old turbochargers. 1 hour video, fun to watch even when one does not know the language: From the construction of the Turbo Jet engine to the flight - just one step


Now now, poor little mules don't deserve beating....better to say like to see the Zaidi Yemenis chop the heads off the Saudi snakes...lol

Can you answer this for me Col.? Long ago I wondered if ALQ would ever target Saudi....now that MbS is 'westernizing' Saudi more than ever what do you see happening? I have read that ALQ offshoots are in Yemen but don't know if that true or Saudi/US extra excuse for Saudi's war. I don't see Iran and ALQ ever cooperating but is it possible ALQ is helping the Yemenis?


I am betting MbS will eventually be assassinated by his own Saudi enemies.


Maybe the Saudis blew up a few tanks themselves as a false flag now that congress is trying to cut off US support for the Yemen war plus US failure to start bombing Iran. Maybe it was a Israeli false flag, who knows.

If so, it had the desired effect on Mr.Insane, Lindsey Graham:

''Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a prominent foreign policy hawk, said the U.S. should consider striking Iranian oil refineries in response to new attacks on Saudi oil refineries by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
“It is now time for the U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment,” Graham tweeted.
“Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” he added

Tucker Carlson should go after and eviscerate Graham

JP Billen

Walrus, why would they want to hit a storage tank? Aramco could just isolate that tank or tanks, put out the fire, and get back in business.

Abqaiq is primarily an oil processing facility to remove hydrogen sulfide gas from the crude. They would do more damage targeting the gas-oil separators, stabilization towers, and/or scrubbers & coolers. That would shut down the plant for much longer while Aramco had to rebuild. Surely if the Houthis had inside intel, they would have known what best to hit. Might be a bit harder to target though.




How can this damage be from UAVs or missiles? How can they be that accurate. Looks more like a large caliber round into those tanks to me.

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