Saudi officials knew they were 'exposed' to drone attacks months ago but they weren't able to do anything to stop it
- From April to the end of June, the Houthi rebels, an Iranian-backed force that has been battling a Saudi-led coalition since it overthrew the Yemeni government a few years ago, carried out ten drone and missile attacks on pipelines, water treatment facilities, and airports.
- The Financial Times reports that Saudi Arabia knew it was vulnerable to drone attacks before the most recent attacks, which were claimed by the Houthis but are suspected to have been carried out by Iranian forces, the main suspects in a series of tanker attacks earlier this year.
- The problem is the traditional air defense systems, such as American-made Patriot missile batteries, that Saudi Arabia relies on are not designed to counter the threat posed by small, slow, low-flying drones.
Video: DOD pulls plug on Boeing/Raytheon missile interceptor program
- While the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) and the Navy's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system have shown some promise in testing, there are still some weaknesses in those systems that could be exploited by an attacker—including the use of multiple decoys to soak up attempted intercepts.
- That was the rationale behind the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), a $1 billion program intended to create the US military’s next ballistic missile interceptor.
- The RKV was intended to build on the Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, currently deployed as part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense System.
- Meanwhile, the US Navy will deploy a new Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Poland by the end of the year, and it's looking at potential deployments in Guam and Hawaii.
The drone attack on Saudi Arabia means the one-way pain of the war on terror is over
- But there is a danger of complacency when the United States has the world's most formidable and best-equipped military.
- When the United States gives full support to Saudi Arabia in its relentless air campaign against Houthi forces in Yemen, is there a tacit belief that the pain would largely run only one way?
- Despite the shrill rhetoric about the Iranian threat, did US decision-makers actually believe that Iran, a middle-level power with very limited military capabilities, would or could do real damage to US interests?
- Was there also a realization that the United Arab Emirates, one of the strongest US allies in the Persian Gulf and the host of the base where the drone flight originated, might have to pay a price for a US action taken without UAE permission?
- As other forces begin to master the relatively inexpensive technology of drone warfare, the assumption of total air superiority by the United States and its allies is going to be challenged.
Missiles and drones that hit Saudi oil fields: Made in Iran, but fired by whom?
- While the mix of weapons involved and where they came from is still in dispute, this would hardly be the first time the Houthi "anti-Saudi resistance militia" used cruise missiles or drones for an attack on Saudi civilian targets.
- For the last four years, the Houthi forces in Yemen have used a mixture of missiles and drones seized from the Yemeni military and—based on forensic evidence from downed missiles and drones—provided by Iran.
- The Qaseth-1, according to analysis by Conflict Armament Research has been used by the Houthis since at least 2017, including in attacks targeting radars for Saudi and UAE Patriot Missile batteries.
- The Houthis unveiled the new cruise missiles this past July and claimed to have new longer-range drones as well.
- Regardless of who launched the attack on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities or what used, the evidence suggests that the weapons capability that allowed the precision strike came from Iran.
The devastating attack on Saudi oil plants confirms the 'worst fears' about low-tech drones in the wrong hands
- Saudi oil facilities were severely damaged on Saturday in what appears to have been a drone and cruise missile strike, increasingly prolific threats the country was largely powerless to stop.
- The strike, which some US officials have said involved a dozen cruise missiles and more than 20 drones, on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing plant and Khurais oil field shut down half of the country's oil processing, affecting roughly 5 percent of global oil production.
- Regardless of which country or group is responsible for the strikes, the nature of the attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities should be a "wake-up call," experts told Insider on Monday.
- With interceptor systems, like the American-made Patriot batteries that Saudi Arabia uses to defend itself from ballistic missile threats, ground-based radars have coverage gaps through which attacking planes and cruise missiles can fly, Joshua Pollack, a leading nuclear weapons and missile expert, told Insider.
Here’s why Raytheon could be the biggest beneficiary of the Saudi oil attack
- US defense contractor Raytheon could benefit the most in the industry from the Saudi oil attack, according to Sheila Kahyoaglu of Jefferies.
- Saudi Arabia — which accounts for 5% of Raytheon's total sales — has the largest defense budget in the Middle East, where spending correlates with oil.
- Per year, the country spends $52 billion on defense, making it the fifth-largest market in the world.
- Raytheon has also had the most foreign military sales to the Middle East this year, and brought in $37 billion from the region in the last six.
- The nature of the attack "also points to the importance of short range protection, which supports ongoing tailwinds for international military spending," Kahyoaglu wrote.
- Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, L3Harris Technologies, General Dynamics, and Textron have all sell to foreign militaries in the Middle East.
A top US arms maker is building a lightweight, drone-killing missile to pack onto fighter jets
- Defense industry giant Raytheon unveiled its newest weapon, the Peregrine air-to-air missile, Monday.
- The weapon, designed for use on fourth-and fifth-generation fighter aircraft — anything from an F-16 to an F-35 — is about 150 pounds and 6 feet long, making "the most efficient use of the real estate on a fighter aircraft," according to Mark Noyes, business development executive at Raytheon.
- The AMRAAM missile, for example, is 335 pounds and 12 feet long.
- The Peregrine incorporates already available materials, military off-the-shelf components, and additive manufacturing processes, making it a low-cost option for militaries facing increased air threats, particularly missiles and UAVs. As Defense News points out, the Peregrine announcement dovetails with a Raytheon executive's comments about the proliferation of counter-drone technology, indicating that the company's focus on defeating drones won't stop any time soon.
Here are some of the upgrades coming to the Air Force's oldest bomber
- As part of the contract, Raytheon will work with prime contractor Boeing to replace the radar and radome, as well as putting in new displays, said Michael Riggs, Boeing's B-52 radar modernization program manager.
- So far, 60 of the 76 aircraft have received modifications, said Alan Williams, deputy B-52 program element monitor at Air Force Global Strike Command.
- The Air Force is also adding Link 16 to the B-52, which is one of the last of the service's aircraft to get that NATO-standard communications link, said Scot Oathout, Boeing's bombers program director.
- The service is in the process of a "form, fit, function replacement" for its current ALQ-172 electronic countermeasures system, or ECM, which will help solve problems with obsolescence and increase reliability without providing a capability upgrade, said Williams.
The Trump administration doesn't want to talk about climate change, but it's already preparing to take advantage of the world climate change is creating
- Under the prodding of Mike Pompeo, the White House increasingly views the Arctic as a key arena for future great-power competition, with the ultimate prize being an extraordinary trove of valuable resources, including oil, natural gas, uranium, zinc, iron ore, gold, diamonds, and rare earth minerals.
- The scramble for the Arctic's resources was launched early in this century when the world's major energy firms, led by BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Russian gas giant Gazprom, began exploring for oil and gas reserves in areas only recently made accessible by retreating sea ice.
- He then began bragging about what the Trump administration had already accomplished, including promoting expanded oil and gas drilling in offshore waters and also freeing up "energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," a pristine stretch of northern Alaska prized by environmentalists as a sanctuary for migrating caribou and other at-risk species.
Meet The Quds 1
- The story of the Quds 1 begins in mid-June 2019, when a cruise missile fired by the Houthis hit the terminal of Abha Airport in Southern Saudi Arabia, wounding a total of 26 passengers.
- First, the fact that the Quds 1 uses the same engine type that was found in Abha makes it highly likely that the missile that hit Abha’s terminal was a Quds-1 simply mislabeled by Saudi Arabia.
- If the pictures showing the Quds 1 wreckage in Saudi Arabia are indeed connected to the recent Abqaiq attack, it would seem more likely that the attack originated from a place closer to Eastern Saudi Arabia than Northern Yemen – potentially Iraq, Iran or perhaps even from ships.
- Iran’s previous supply of missiles to the Houthis and the fact that the country uses TJ100 engines in its drone program do imply that the Iran could be behind the Quds 1.