I don't think this will affect two countries in a state of conventional warfare. This is a problem in the hand of long term proxies/non state actors. There needs to be a long term solution for the rise of proxy groups all over the region.
The head of the snake needs to be crushed, is that what you are saying?I don't think this will affect two countries in a state of conventional warfare. This is a problem in the hand of long term proxies/non state actors. There needs to be a long term solution for the rise of proxy groups all over the region.
Absolutely, otherwise these groups will continue to spawn in the region. Besides sanctions, there is more states in the region can do to penalize this phenomena. It requires an organized and collective approach. In Iraq for example, you can punish Iraq for allowing pro-Iran proxy groups to freely buildup on Iraqi soil and use Iraq as staging ground for future attacks.The head of the snake needs to be crushed, is that what you are saying?
Oh yes I can testify to the balloons part....Yes it does, than install it 5 km. away and 2 km above the refinery etc. and encircle the facility.
Those helium balloons with some electronics might be good idea.
Facility may not have GSM connection but than there will be compromises.
@Khafee probably knows, once in 80's great general Zial ul Haque. swarmed the aispace around the Kahuta research labs with balloons, on tip from Saudi Arabia about Israeli F-16 flying south-east. but those were simple balloons without ECM. Still that manged to sabotage the Israeli air raid.
There's thousands of years of study, experiments and refinements on using infantry and cavalry to wage wars. About a hundred years for air warfare. Tech such as cyberattacks and drones don't receive enough attention and eventual preventative tool-building until events such as Stuxnet and Abqaiq.The 1 Thing About the Saudi Oil Attacks That Should Terrify You
October 1, 2019
The nature of warfare is changing fast. Can America keep up?
by Eliot Pence
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Key point: The attacks against Saudi Arabia with newer technologies such as drones and missiles, raises the question of how humans should still control their weapons of war.
The Abqaiq attacks this month raised many questions. Who did it? How did they do it? What did they do it with? One question was notably absent: Why couldn't Saudi Arabia stop it? The answer is not straightforward, nor is it necessarily clear that anything could have stopped it. After all, the Kingdom spends as much as any country on defense.
The uncomfortable reality is that no one knows how to deal with this threat. It is not just the Saudis. American military bases in the Middle East were likely equally exposed. Inexpensive, asymmetric, ubiquitous threats traveling at high speeds is a hard problem. They resemble something similar to an emergent property, in which simple entities (drones and cruise missiles, for example) operate in an ecosystem, forming more complex behaviors as a collective. Stopping one drone may have not been a challenge. Stopping 17 drones and eight cruise missiles launched together confusing radars, communications infrastructure, and human operators all at once are. Whether we like it or not, when it comes to this new era of defense, humans can be just as much the problem as they are the solution.
Five years ago, the Department of Defense started seriously contemplating how two major developments - a raft of new technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and autonomy, and increasingly commoditized (and therefore cheaper) sensors and hardware - posed serious risks to its existing legacy defense systems. The Pentagon released a report calling for the transformation of the defense industry, concerned that its legacy systems were no match for a rapidly approaching new era. But mainstreaming new tech into the "SOPs and TTCs" of various branches of the military ran aground. Legacy companies, late to the game and unable to attract the talent necessary to compete in the new industries, piled on and pushed for incremental change to existing technologies to defend their core business interests. A core argument of the anti-changers: humans were needed "in the loop." HITL, as "humans in the loop" became known, conveniently reflected the operating systems of their own products.
The problem was – and remains – that any system reliant on a human operator paired with bespoke, non-interoperable controls is at risk. The adversary is always looking for where humans are managing assets, because they know there are likely fault lines nearby. In this context, humans – their faults and frailties – are accentuated. We cannot think, act, reason quickly enough for a world in which dozens of cheap, smart objects fly at hypersonic speeds at multiple targets.
The question isn't, "Do we want humans in the loop?" Of-course we do. The question is where. New defense technologies, especially those that offer defensive measures against fast moving swarms of flying vessels, need to minimize human's decision load such that they are no longer identifying and classifying targets but can instead offload those tasks to computational mechanisms that are capable of processing that faster and more accurately. Humans then only have the burden of deciding how to engage, with computer assistance telling them the most useful countermeasure. The reality is that in most air defense systems, humans are everywhere in the loop. They are in front of screens, behind radars, tipping, queuing, identifying, classifying, coordinating.
The solution to this threat is not radars that see further, or bigger and faster interceptor missiles or even more HITL. The solution is structural: inexpensive, infinitely scalable sensor systems that fuse data feeds offering as an accurate, non-hackable picture of reality as possible. Daisy-chained radars interlinked by a mesh network track the paths of each enemy drone autonomously handing off to the next. Humans maintain control of the intent; not the process.
These advances in technology and their gradual commoditization do not represent linear, incremental changes to global security. They represent a paradigm shift in thinking about defense and warfare. As the Saudi attacks so clearly demonstrate, their combination makes defense exponentially more challenging to human operators. Before the next attack, we need to realize that being everywhere in the loop is the same as being out of it.
I was under the impression the S-400 is capable of handling short-range / low flying attacks too.Diverse, layered missile defense is key to killing drone swarms
02 Oct 2019
By: Steven P. Bucci
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Workers and engineers are silhouetted as they fix the damage in Aramco's oil separator at a processing facility six days after the Sept. 14, 2019, attack in Abqaiq, near Dammam in Saudi Arabia. (Amr Nabil/AP)
On Sept. 14, 2019, the Aramco oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia were attacked by drones and possibly cruise missiles. While the rebel Houthi movement in Yemen claimed responsibility, few believed this canard. American, British, French, German and Saudi intelligence officials all point to Iran as the culprit. This is just the latest of Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region.
The oil field attack was significant, as it cut Saudi oil production in half — a significant hit to the world’s production. Tensions in the region have been higher than usual in the face of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, the American diplomatic and trade pressure on Iran, Iran’s hostile actions against shipping (mining two vessels and highjacking others), and most recently “offering” at a U.N. General Assembly meeting to take over regional security responsibilities to get the West to leave the region.
Beyond all that, the West needs to learn some lessons from the attack. Missile defense critics quickly deemed Saudi Arabia’s use of the American-made MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system as insufficient protection for this attack. Perhaps it was, but we don’t yet know enough to make that call. Western leaders should not jump to premature conclusions of which weapons and technology were even used or if any of the current defense systems “failed.” This helps no one, is opportunistic and could lead to dangerous decisions going forward.
These “trigger happy” naysayers are declaring that in light of the reliability of the Patriot program and other American products, they should be dumped and the Russian S-400 system adopted instead. This is just nonsense. The Patriot is primarily designed to stop high-flying jet aircraft and large ballistic missiles, while drones and short-range cruise missiles fly too low to be effectively detected by the Patriot radar.
But news alert: The S-400 is also not built for hitting low-flying targets. This rank speculation from missile defense critics and further propagated by media that don’t understand the complexities of missile defense only emboldens adversaries that are working against the interests of the U.S. and our allies.
In the coming weeks, intelligence agencies are slated to release their findings about the attack, and only at that point should we be considering what needs to be done differently to prevent another attack. The likelihood that the conclusion is to “buy Russian” is, and very well should be, low.
The reality is more likely this: Effective missile defense systems are not based on one weapon capable of stopping everything. Only diverse, layered and integrated air and missile defense systems in combination can combat all types of incoming attacks. Without an interconnected, layered system that can work together and be successfully operated by highly trained personnel, there will be gaps in the coverage — regardless of where or who it’s made by. As mentioned, the Patriot was built to protect against high-flying targets, and without integration with other weapons like counter-unmanned aircraft systems that are rapidly evolving, targets like Aramco are not fully protected.
It’s not only difficult to believe that a proven system like Patriot that’s deployed in 17 countries and has been used successfully in hundreds of combat engagements simply failed, it is also highly unlikely. We also don’t yet know other specifics such as employment techniques and crew-training levels around the oil facilities. All these factors are very likely to add to the complexity of the investigation.
It bears repeating that any one missile defense weapon system alone is not designed to protect against all possible air attacks. Never has that been truer than today, given the growing threat of drone technology — and drones were the key in this attack. We must continue to develop technologies that will detect these types of small, unmanned aircraft and find ways to more effectively protect our assets from these asymmetrical assaults.
The bottom line is that a full investigation into the Aramco attack is necessary to diagnose the problem, and only when that is completed should “corrective” prescriptions be considered. We cannot allow this incident to shift focus on the still-significant and larger missile defense threats we still face.
Additionally, we need interoperability of missile defense systems between allies. This is a time for more concerted efforts to achieve the sort of layered defenses that are truly needed, not for the adoption of outliers such as the Russian systems.
Steven Bucci, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank.