« HARPER: CARLSON HAILS DEPARTURE OF 'LEFTIST' BOLTON | Main | Michael Flynn's Motion to Compel Brady Evidence is Compelling by Larry C Johnson »

14 September 2019


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Wow! The Houthi's have a jet engine now? They weren't supposed to have that. That is news. Thanks for that information, TTG.


Oil storage tanks like those made by Chicago Bridge and Iron, aren’t very thick or armoured at all. I seem to remember maybe 3/4’’ plate in the walls and the roof is much lighter again.


If Iran launched the strike then they are dead stupid. I would imagine KSA has radar good enough to paint something coming from seaward - a clear horizon, etc. In addition, assuming the bad guys weren’t devious enough to plot a curved course, crashed drones and wreckage may tell from which direction the drones came from.

The Twisted Genius

That little TJ100 turbojet engine is extremely fuel efficient and can power a small acrobatic manned plane. Guidance can be GPS with preprogrammed flight path augmented with non-GPS guidance systems such as demonstrated in ths small hand launched model aircraft. The shit's on, good buddy.


blue peacock


Both the Chinese and German economy were weakening well before all the trade disputes hit. The tariffs in real dollar amounts is small relative to the size of trade. US imports + exports is around $5.6 trillion. We've tariffed a few hundred billion.

I think many view the dispute with China as essentially trade. The reality is that the CCP has been at war with the US for some decades. Follow the story as it unfolds of one of the highest ranking Canadian intelligence official arrested last week. CCP fingerprints all over it.

blue peacock

They're probably scaring the shit out of the Clown Prince right now. He may even contemplate what if they target his royal palace.


Highly destructive drones can be built for as little as two grand a pop. The technology is common, the components are easy to smuggle, and the facilities required for assembly and launch are minimal. There are lots of possible launch and control sites for this attack including within the KSA. Pompeo is talking out the wrong end.

A commenter at Moon of Alabama was good enough to provide this article on Houthi drones.

JP Billen


James Rogers, a visiting war studies professor at Yale agrees that the latest Houthi UAVs have a 900 mile range. But he and the UN call it the UAVX, which the Houthis call the Samad-3 or Sammad-3.


The Samad-3 has a conformal fuel tank giving it almost three times longer range than the Samad-1.

Back two months ago, a Houthi spokesman told reporters in a news conference that Samad-3 has a range of 1500 to 1700 km (930 to 1050 miles). He also claimed Samad-3 could either hit a target directly or do what he called a top-to-bottom attack. He did not specify the top-attack capability but it is probably similar to or improved upon the QasefK2 UAV warhead, which detonates HE-FRAG 20 meters over the target. No mention was made of the warhead size. But he did claim it uses advanced technology helping it avoid detection by Saudi radars.


No mention of guidance system. But their earlier systems have used INS backed up by SatNav, and the Samad-1 used EO and a data link.


Any information if this was an inside job for Drone guidance and/or delivery?

"Strategic Effects Strike" - How ironic, LMAO!!!!


The flames of the resistance burn bright or something like that


Final phase guidance could possibly be done using COTS wifi or maybe even using 'open' networks in SA combined with COTS ip-camera's. When the drones fly high enough and have a boosted antenna wifi. There is a lot of open source software available out there that can be used.

I would go for picking up a local signal in the target area. This can be as simple as using a hotspot on a smart-phone and tunnel the stream through it to the pilots.

David Kilcullen has written/talked about the use of open source technology and Internet in assymetric warfare. Although I don't agree with all his ideas, these home-built (if they are) UAVs are an interesting development.



How does it have the range and guidance needed?

Range is simply a question of size.

As for guidance - a cellphone will do these days. There are some cheap ones that have GPS, Glonass and Baidu receivers. A USB interface to some Raspi processor with digital to analog ports to drive the servos that move the control surfaces of the bird. A small battery will give the needed power.

In all some $200 for hardware and a few months of programming and testing. If needed one could also use the cellphone camera to compare the target with Google earth pictures.

All of these are no longer a military specialty. Drones are the 'democratized' version of the German V-1. Everyone can build them.


The first time a new thing happens it is just that, happenstance.
The second time that thing happens it may be co-incidence or it may be reconnaissance.
The third time that same thing happens it is enemy action.
This is the third time the Houthi's have droned a Saudi oil facility and not been impeded.
It will not be the Iranians they have no need to get involved as long as the Houthi's are embarrassing the Sauds.

Eric Newhill

Col Lang is right. The range/guidance is the big question. While what you say is true about the guidance system, range remains the issue.

The Iranians have a drone that is effectively guided for 200 KM (according to the Iranians). It can fly much farther, but it won't be guided after 200 KM.

So known drone types in the region don't need to be "trucked to within a few miles" of the target, but the farther away the attack was launched, the more it points to Iranian involvement at the level of, at least, supplying the drone tech.

Then again, who knows? Maybe with a little time to experiment, some creative thinking and a pile of cheap electronics, someone could figure out how to guide a drone for greater distances. I can think of some ways that just might work along the lines of what you suggested.


The informative part of the official Houti statement is “This operation is one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depth of Saudi Arabia and came after a accurate intelligence operation and advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free mans within the Kingdom.”.
The full statement can be found here
My interpretation is that they had the benefit of some form of forward targeting to ensure that what was most vulnerable was what was hit once the drones had successfully reached the target area. The success ratio appears to have been very high.


eric Newhill/b/all

As i understand the issue the long pole in the tent on long range active guidance is a need for a line of sight electron9c link. that is why 200 km has been a limitation. US drones use relays through commo satellites to keep a pilot on the oher side of the world in active control of the aircraft. i doubt if the Hourhis have satellite links unless they have figured out how to do that with a satellite phone. If the can't do that then GPS guidance to the target area is a possibility. At that point some form of terminal guidance is needed. I am struck by the information that a conformal tank has been fitted to some of these birds. This would greatly extend the range.

The Twisted Genius

This is cruise missile technology, rather than remotely piloted UAV technology. The guidance would be self contained on the missile using commercially available GPS receivers. This is becoming widely used in model aircraft circles. The Houthi statement about the attack indicated intelligence gathered from the target area. They probably employed CARVER analysis to identify specific targets within the complex and could have used non-GPS, camera-based guidance to hit the specific targets within the complex. Those camera-based guidance systems are also used by model aircraft hobbyists. All in all, this was a brilliant operation from technology development and production to operational targetting and execution.

In the early 90s my collection team was in contact with some brilliant and accomplished hackers in Yemen. NSA was shocked that these accomplished people were Yemeni. I'm sure you don't, but too many people sell these poor hill people short. Seems the Saudis did.

Ghost Ship

Probably quite a lot but Tehran will have plausible deniability.
The drone won't have "Made in Iran" stamped on unless Mossad get to the remains first. The engine, that powered these cruise missiles/autonomous drones, and the rest of the bits and pieces will be available on the open market. It wouldn't surprise me if the guidance system including terminal guidance, used a common-or-garden smartphone. I'm sure the Yemenis have designers, engineers and programmers enough to handle this.
I remember reading how an engineering company developed a low-cost turbojet engine for powering target drones. It was a bog-standard turbocharger with a combustion chamber bolted in between the compressor and turbine stages. You can even find a how-to guide on the internet.

Eric Newhill

I don't know what the challenges would be, let alone if they could be overcome, but what if they had operatives at relay stations every 200 KM? As the drones exit the line of sight from the launch base, station 1 picks up the drones and guides them through to station 2, etc; leap frogging all the way to the target.

Obviously, it's important to understand how this was done. It will be used against us soon enough.

Eric Newhill

But a shaped charge allows you to create an equal effect with a lighter payload. The amount/weight of charge to get through even 3/4 inch plate would be less. Important when using a drone delivery system.

Eric Newhill

Yes. The markets will react negatively to the uncertainty/instability that this event creates.

Ghost Ship

I think that needs correction

Saudis need Israeli's Iron Dome like a hole in the head

Actually, the Saudis need a few thousand Russian-made Pantsirs. Even at ~$15 million a piece that would still be better value than all the overpriced tat they buy from the west. Better yet, they should just get out of Yemen and forget about confronting Iran



I agree, China has been kicking our asses with the complicit help of corporate America for decades. Don't forget the fine, extreme vetted individual who drove for Senator Feinstein. She was "mortified" and he was "foreced to retire". I wonder if he got a $1 million like the FBI gave to that guy in Moscow now in that wonderful Maryland subdivision I couldn't afford to buy a home in?


Ghost Ship
"used a common-or-garden smartphone." How?

Terence Gore

We seem to be blaming Iran and Iran may be trying to demonstrating it's power to disrupt in the region.

Time to replay a golden oldie. From the Wesley Clark 7 Trio


The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad