A Big And Bizarre Drone Mystery Is Unfolding In Rural Colorado

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Winston, Dec 27, 2019.

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  1. Jan 1, 2020 #31

    JStarStar

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    There are four lights.
     
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  2. Jan 1, 2020 #32

    vcp

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  3. Jan 1, 2020 #33

    Winston

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    Great point. Don't know exactly where to look, but a Google search for "NOTAMS northeast Colorado" brought up this:

    https://www.globalair.com/airport/apt.notams.aspx?aptcode=GXY

    which shows a Saturday, 4 Jan warning to 12k for what I assume is an HPR launch:

    !DEN 01/016 Gill, Gill, CO (GLL) Airspace unmanned rocket WI an area defined as 1 nautical mile radius of GLL028012 surface-12,000 feet above ground level Jan 4, 2020 1600Z to Jan 4, 2020 2200Z
     
  4. Jan 1, 2020 #34

    MClark

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    Another one same location. Someone is launching first Saturday of month.

    DEN 12/130 Gill, Gill, CO (GLL) Airspace unmanned rocket WI an area defined as 1 nautical mile radius of GLL028012 surface-12,000 feet above ground level Dec 7, 2019 1600Z to Dec 7, 2019 2200Z
     
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  5. Jan 2, 2020 #35

    Daddyisabar

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  6. Jan 2, 2020 #36

    MClark

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  7. Jan 2, 2020 #37

    Daddyisabar

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    Yes, yes!
    Most suspicious this is! Call in the local investigative news reporter. We've got them! :)
     
  8. Jan 2, 2020 #38

    Winston

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    https://www.yahoo.com/gma/mystery-d...-colorado-191517152--abc-news-topstories.html

    "As soon as the Governor heard about the sightings, he asked Department of Public Safety to find out what was going on. He’s actively monitoring reports of drone sightings in eastern Colorado and shares the expressed concerns of law enforcement and local residents. The Governor has not yet received any substantial information beyond what has been reported. While it remains a mystery about who is flying these drones and why, it’s certain they have caused a bit of a stir and the Governor wants to get to the bottom of it and make sure that no person or property is at risk," a spokesperson from Colorado Governor Jared Polis' office told ABC News.

    Joseph Vencel, who works with solar farms in Logan County, Colorado, told ABC affiliate KMGH-TV that the drones may have infrared devices on board. Vencel suggested the drones could be looking for "illegal grows."

    Drone squadrons have also been reported in Washington, Phillips and Sedgwick Counties.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2020 #39

    Jim Hinton

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    Hi Folks;

    I would have more faith in a resolution to the issue if Daffy Duck were put in charge as opposed to Jared Polis. The governor of Colorado has not exactly covered himself with glory during his tenure.

    Jim
     
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  10. Jan 2, 2020 #40

    Winston

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  11. Jan 2, 2020 #41

    Daddyisabar

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    They must have the latest equipment on board and getting close in. The good ole boys are very careful with their thermal footprint and any other emissions. Feds looking for sloppy growers, Easy targets. If the boys in blue have some advanced penetrating radar that could be a problem.

    Making their way the only way they know how. That's just a little bit more than the law will allow.

    Someday the mountain might get 'em but the law never will!

    The Feds should just drive around with rookie agents tied to the top of the armored SUV roofs. Give them a bowl of some of that genetically modified super weed and they will be able to see in the full spectrum. "Dude that was a gamma ray burst 500 million light years away." Come on son, keep your head down and looking at the silos!
     
  12. Jan 2, 2020 #42

    Winston

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    What I was referring to:

    Tech’s Most Controversial Startup Makes Drone-Killing Robots
    4 Oct 2019

     
  13. Jan 3, 2020 #43

    Woody's Workshop

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    I didn't read all the posts, so pardon if this has been suggested.
    Who's owns the land in that area?
    Is it up for sale?
    If it's state land, that pretty much narrow's it down to Gov't. activity of some sort.
    It could be some corporate conglomerate keeping a low profile scoping out a build site.
    It could be the Gov't. looking for a downed whatever they are trying to keep a low profile on. ie; Top Secret, that got away from them.
    If the size has been accurately identified, that also narrows it down to who can afford such craft.
    If they are indeed that large, they are most likely programed to take off, fly a pattern and return to launch site when complete.
    I'd review road maps of the area and see where a nice little place out of the way could be located for their base activity.
    Question locals whom might have seen unusual vehicles in the area before and after the events.
    I've seen video's on You Tube of self built craft about that size that can be onboard man controlled.
    Maybe it's a bunch of self built craft being tested in a low profile situation getting ready to submit for a Patent.
    Someone maybe developing craft for Amazon come's to mind...
    Hard to believe pranksters would build something that size to simulate Alien presents, but who knows what the rich will do.
    Has any crop circles been located in that area since the sightings? Maybe someone figured out how the Alien's were doing it and trying it out?
    Or maybe it's a Black Opps Attack from another country dropping a deadly plague test?
    Anyone in the area or group of people get sick in that area lately?
    If it's cattle grazing land, perhaps their intention is infect the grass the cattle eat?
    Maybe the are deploying ready to hatch larva for a locus swarm?
    Me? I would have shot one down and claimed I thought Earth was being invaded by Aliens!
    It sure would have gotten some answers, If I wasn't thrown in back of a truck and disappeared that is.
     
  14. Jan 3, 2020 #44

    Cnorm

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    What does the sons of liberty website have to say about all this? Are we all going to be enslaved by Amazon, chained to workstations in their distribution warehouses?
     
  15. Jan 3, 2020 #45

    Marc_G

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    My guess is that it is a testing process. Newly fitted drones/optics whatever. If they were looking for a downed aircraft or whatever it would have been quickly found. If they were surveying, looking for pot groves, or searching for a person on infrared, it would have been quickly found too. The fact that they keep returning to the same spot and painting the same grid suggests they are doing a test pattern perhaps varying some element of the job each time. Based on the equipment it's government or serious high end corporate kit. I doubt we will ever find out the real story.
     
  16. Jan 3, 2020 #46

    lakeroadster

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    They've been talking about this for weeks here on the local news. There are a lot hunters in that area, most of them very adept at shooting birds in flight.

    Seems like a few of those folks, and some bird shot could "recover" a few of the drones for some "destructive testing".

    I know it's illegal, but when the "authorities" don't know what they are, it's time to deputize some reinforcements. I mean, it is the wild west.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
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  17. Jan 4, 2020 #47

    Daddyisabar

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    Wow! Now all the way down yonder to Elbert County. That is quite a North-South arc. What could possibly come down in nasty bits on that particular trajectory over such a large area. Keeping it quiet as possible because ignorance is blis. TRUST CORY! He is our man.
     
  18. Jan 4, 2020 #48

    ecarson

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    This is merely conjecture and speculation on my part.

    Many of you are probably familiar with flight simulators, and are aware that Microsoft has thrown their hat back into the ring in a big way, through Asobo studios. The new Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is currently in alpha software development, may be released later this year. They have not made a major update since Flight Simulator X, or FSX in 2006. I don't count the Steam release as being a major update.

    If you do some quick searches, YouTube being the most dramatic, the level of detail on the ground from alpha development screens and videos, is unprecedented. They are using some combination of Bing maps and artificial intelligence to render the world in quite astounding resolution and accuracy. However, there are extensive database gaps in several areas.

    This brings me to a wild guess, that some organization is doing some high resolution LIDAR ground scanning and photography. I checked the area where I live, and since it is ultimately rural, both Google Earth and Bing Maps have no street level info or 3D ground object info. I would suspect that flying over my house in the yet-to-be-released simulator will be a disappointment in that one way. That doesn't stop me from putting a 3D model of my own generation into the files of my current FSX simulator though, for my own personal edification.

    Just a thought I had. All I can say is that if I see a cloud of autonomous drones over my area in the future, the operators might best be aware that many of my neighbors may not be so enthusiastic about such a probable purpose.
     
  19. Jan 4, 2020 #49

    Daddyisabar

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    It is going to be even harder to watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind again.

    All the nightly skulduggery for mapping or even detecting gas line leaks seems a bit much. Not enough value or danger to make sense for such operational procedures.
     
  20. Jan 5, 2020 #50

    Woody's Workshop

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    If it's a gas leak, Law requires public notification when even a minimal amount becomes unaccounted for.
    So I think that can be ruled out with certainty.
    I'd still shoot one down, just to bring things to the surface.
     
  21. Jan 5, 2020 #51

    dhbarr

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    Nah, you repeatedly map night after night when it's cool enough to pick up masked IR. Now you have reasonable suspicion to step up patrols in the area.

    The first hint of any corroborating evidence, now you've got a no-knock and you get to use that milsurp personnel carrier, the one with the ram.

    Nevermind it's legal now, he wasn't paying enough of the right taxes.
     
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  22. Jan 5, 2020 #52

    Greg Furtman

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  23. Jan 5, 2020 #53

    Jim Hinton

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    By virtue of the fact that we don't have Homeland Security types popping out of every prairie rat hole, we know who is doing it. This is pretty obviously a federal operation. On the subject of NOTAMs and similar notices. I had the pleasure and privilege of flying with NCR yesterday. One effect of the NOTAM issued from their waiver is that we got buzzed a few times by civil aircraft. I don't think that is what the NOTAM is supposed to do. Of course, all launches are suspended until said aircraft are out of sight.

    Jim
     
  24. Jan 5, 2020 #54

    rharshberger

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    We have noticed at TCR that NOTAMS seem to attract attention rather than keep aircraft away.
     
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  25. Jan 5, 2020 #55

    Winston

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    I guess if they don't fly above 400 feet, there's no NOTAM requirement? Still surprising to me that there's no video that I've seen. With virtually everyone carrying camera's (smart phones) in their pockets, why not?

    Drone experts believe military, or military contractor, responsible for Colorado drone mystery.
    JANUARY 4, 2020

    https://kdvr.com/2020/01/04/drone-e...actor-responsible-for-colorado-drone-mystery/

    The team spent Friday scouring Eastern Colorado for sightings, using specialized equipment to differentiate registered planes and helicopters from drones.

    "We did get eyes on one about 200 to 300 feet above, and it was moving at about 100 knots," says Chris Swathwood. "It was a large fixed wing aircraft. It was dark, and it had lights unlike any other manned aircraft would normally have."

    His team believes the drone likely surpassed 8 feet in size, and was equipped to take off vertically, while soaring for hours at a time.

    Swathwood's team says the aircraft in question likely cost over $100,000 to build, ruling out most operators.

    "These are very sophisticated, very high end, very specific, and very targeted drones," he says. "We have the consensus that it's probably the military, or a military contractor."
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2020
  26. Jan 5, 2020 #56

    Winston

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    Army Looks to Replace RQ-7 Shadow
    4/12/2019

    https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2019/4/12/army-looks-to-replace-rq-7-shadow

    The Army sent out a request for proposals to industry to pursue these prototypes at the end of September. [2018 assumed - W]

    Although the service is still deciding on its requirements for the new system, it is currently pursuing three main features. These include a better acoustic signature, runway independence and the ability to be transported in organic assets, such as the CH-47 Chinook, Rugen said.

    The Army held its first fly-off in December [2018] and January [2019] at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

    The service downselected to two vendors, Rugen told reporters at the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. The chosen companies were Martin UAV LLC based in Plano, Texas, and Textron's AAI Corp. based in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

    Additionally, “industry has been innovative and we want to capitalize on that,” he said. “Runaway [sic] independence is obviously very valuable to us because … when you look at our MDO, or multi-domain ops, concepts, we want to be away from areas that are easily targeted by enemies’ capabilities ... that can reach some of our staging bases.”


    However, that requirement does not necessarily mean the system must have a vertical take-off and landing capability, he said. That is a feature the service has previously pursued for its unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not implemented in full.

    The Army also intends to upgrade its fleet of UAVs to employ advanced teaming techniques. Rugen said the service is gearing up to develop a “future vertical lift ecosystem” that takes this teaming “to the next level.”

    The Textron's AAI UAVs I can find are MUCH larger than described [approx. 8 feet wingspan] in the kdvr.com article and aren't VTOL capable.

    Martin UAV LLC

    https://martinuav.com/




    [​IMG]
     
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  27. Jan 5, 2020 #57

    Greg Furtman

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    Hmmm...this looks promising. :) Good find.
     
  28. Jan 5, 2020 #58

    Winston

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    The V-Bat is the only UAV I can find which has all of the specs mentioned thus far by witnesses:

    1. Fixed wing - approx. 8 feet wingspan (9 feet spec - but that's not unique)
    2. Fixed wing UAV which can hover (unique)
    3. 100 knots (90 knots spec - but that's not unique)

    V-Bat drone to challenge US Army, allies in Germany-based exercise
    April 20, 2018

    https://www.defensenews.com/unmanne...nge-us-army-allies-in-germany-based-exercise/

    WASHINGTON — Martin UAV’s V-Bat, a unique vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft, will take on the U.S. Army and its allies in the service’s upcoming Joint Warfighting Assessment in Germany in May, in which it will service as a part of the opposition force designed to challenge the service’s capabilities.

    It takes roughly six to eight minutes to take a stored V-Bat out of its highly transportable case and assemble it, and a total of 19 minutes to get it airborne including loading flight plans into a ground control station, Blake Sawyer, Martin UAV executive vice president of global sales and development, told Defense News in an interview.

    In addition to not needing launchers to get the drone airborne or systems to catch it, the aircraft can also be refueled at the tactical edge.
    A two-person crew can control the drone, and training (including maintenance) takes four to six weeks.

    When Martin UAV set out to build a new drone, the company asked if there was a way to build a tactical, true VTOL drone, not a hybrid that fills gaps between Group 1 (Puma and Raven) and Group 2 (Shadow) UAS and Group 2 and 3. And for the company, the answer is V-Bat.

    “If you can operate a Javelin missile in your infantry platoon or infantry battalion, you can operate V-Bat,” Sawyer said.

    V-Bat has 500 watts of air vehicle power, which means it can accommodate a variety of payloads from signals intelligence to electronic warfare.

    Niemi and Sawyer said V-Bat would have the capability to fly in manned-unmanned teaming formations and could help serve missions beyond aviation such as supporting fires units with a laser designator-type payload to help with targeting. There is also interest in the system at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence.

    The service [U.S. Army] is also looking hard at a future tactical UAS for brigade combat teams as well as advanced UAS for its reconnaissance squadrons.


    Martin UAV V-Bat specs:

    https://martinuav.com/portfolio/v-bat/

    OPERATIONS
    Launch/Recovery: Autonomous Vertical Take-off, Autonomous Vertical Landing
    Max L&R Wind: 25 kts
    Command/Control: Kutta Tech GCS, Moving map display with point and click mission planning interface
    Data Link: Wave Relay, 2.4 GHz video down link, 900 MHz spread spectrum 2-way modem
    Sensors: Standard, EO/IR gimbal

    OPTIONS
    Sensors: SIGINT, EW, SAR, SWIR,Target Marker, Hyperspectral, 4G LTE
    Mapping Payload: Hi-Res digital SLR

    PERFORMANCE
    Speed Range: 0 to 90 knots
    Duration: 8+ hours at 45 kts
    Ceiling: 15,000 feet
    Range: 350 miles (fuel limited), 40+ miles (telemetry)
    Max Payload: 8 lbs

    CHARACTERISTICS
    Wing Span: 9 ft (2.74 m)
    Length: 8 ft (2.4 m)
    Assembled Size: 9ft x 8ft x 2ft (2.74 m x 2.4 m x .6 m)
    Weight: 82 lbs
    Propulsion: 183cc 2-stroke EFI
    Fuel: Gasoline oil mix (80:1)
     
  29. Jan 5, 2020 #59

    Winston

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    The Crazy V-Bat Vertical Takeoff And Landing Drone Could Be A Game Changer
    A drone that can fly at up to 90 knots, stay aloft for eight hours, and take off and land virtually anywhere was once the stuff of science fiction.
    JULY 27, 2019

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...off-and-landing-drone-could-be-a-game-changer

    Excerpts:

    The Navy sent its expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Spearhead to sea to experiment with a number of cutting-edge technologies last week, including MartinUAV's novel V-Bat drone. V-Bat is capable of infrastructure-independent vertical takeoff and landings while also retaining the high efficiency of a fixed-wing aircraft for long-endurance missions. Seeing as it can be launched and recovered in a nine square meter area and even in dense urban terrain, as well as on the tight decks of ships, the drone could have a lot of applications in the military, law enforcement/first responder, industrial, and environmental monitoring sectors.

    The U.S. Army has V-Bat on its very short list of contenders to replace its RQ-7 Shadow drones. The service has a number of capabilities they want for their new small drone system, with the ability to operate independently in very austere conditions and without a runway of any kind, as well as a lower acoustic signature than the Shadow being prime requirements. Advanced evaluations at the platoon level will be ongoing into 2020, after which the Army will make its choice.

    In addition, it's not like the Army and the Navy are the only services interested in V-Bat. The Marines and the Coast Guard are also eyeing the drone, too. It has demonstrated its capabilities during large allied exercises and for customers overseas, as well.

    V-Bat has been serving in a limited counter-narcotics role for the U.S. Navy since at least 2016, but a far wider deployment of the capability is yet to be seen. Still, the fact that the Navy has continued to experiment with the system for years now is a good sign that they like what they see.

    It will be really interesting to see how V-Bat's story evolves in the coming years. By the looks of it, it could very well become one of the most important and widely-used drones in the Pentagon's portfolio.
     
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  30. Jan 5, 2020 #60

    Greg Furtman

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    Maybe Martin UAV is getting ready for war games.
     

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