Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military Input Devices United States

Meet the Men Who Deploy Airstrikes 311

Posted by Soulskill
from the these-guys-saved-my-butt-in-C&C dept.
Lanxon writes "Wired followed US Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Rosner into Afghanistan to see first-hand the tools, tactics, and pressures involved in coordinating military airstrikes. This lengthy piece explores the people and technology involved in high-risk airborne warfare, from their perspective. From the article: 'Strapped to his chest, Rosner carries a handheld video player called a "Rover," built by L3 Communications, a New York-based defense contractor. The device, the size and shape of a PSP game console and costing tens of thousands of dollars, reads signals transmitted by the camera pods strapped to the underside of all NATO fighter aircraft. With his Rover, Rosner can see everything a pilot sees, from the pilot's perspective. On his back he carries a radio programmed with secure frequencies that tie him directly to the pilots overhead and to his unit's headquarters, several miles away. At the headquarters, another JTAC monitors a bigger, more sophisticated video terminal that displays the same video Rosner sees, plus other data.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Meet the Men Who Deploy Airstrikes

Comments Filter:
  • Keybindings (Score:5, Funny)

    by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:14PM (#32065364) Homepage
    So, what's his key binding for deploying airstrikes? F5? S? shift-F?
  • by dicobalt (1536225) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:17PM (#32065380)
    They didn't explain why I have to get 5 kills to get an airstrike :(
  • from experience... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:19PM (#32065410)

    As an Army qualified and certified JFO, let me just say that Air Force JTACs are some very highly trained individuals, many of which who could easily work for the FAA (as airspace deconfliction is one of their primary jobs and they're damn good at it). Close Air Support, or any sort of Fires Support for that matter, are very stressful and complicated tasks, and if your calculations or designation are wrong, 2000lb JDAMs can easily end up coming down on the heads of either friendlies or non-coms.

    The Joint Service Joint Fires Observer course itself is no joke, and I can only imagine what type of training the JTACs themselves go through, but I have a very good idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From TFA, Staff Sergeant Kevin Rosner is in the U.S. Air Force, not the U.S. Army.

  • Rosner's Neat Trick (Score:3, Informative)

    by cliffiecee (136220) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:39PM (#32065560) Homepage Journal

    Hello, Pedantic Man here...

    reads signals transmitted by the camera pods strapped to the underside of all NATO fighter aircraft. With his Rover, Rosner can see everything a pilot sees, from the pilot's perspective

    emphasis mine

    Um... no, not quite the pilot's perspective. (Arguably, it's actually a better picture of the terrain beneath the nose of the aircraft than the pilot sees. But it's not the pilot's perspective- at least, I hope not!)

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @03:08PM (#32065748)

    I love all the self-promotional talk about how awesome these weapons are, I'd love to see what would happen when they deploy their unencrypted video streams and "secure" radio transmitters against an enemy that at least have weapon systems designed in the last 20 years. These "secure frequencies" would be like a huge flashing beacon when fighting an enemy that doesn't rely on AK-47s and blending in with the civilian population.

    • So you think you know something about signals intelligence? Intercepts, decryption, code-breaking? I doubt it. Sure, you can use a modern "radar" detector to spot UAV control link frequencies, but that isn't going to get you any closer to breaking whatever control scheme is in place. It is naive at best to think that modern military hardware isn't using crypto hardware that out paces anything you've ever heard of.

      Could another modern military force find, intercept and maybe understand or at least inte
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikael_j (106439)

        1) A large number of UAVs were found to be transmitting their video streams completely unencrypted.

        2) I didn't mention cracking the encryption, I did however use the description "huge flashing beacon" which implied that when facing an enemy that's not stuck in the middle ages it may not be such a good idea to have troops in the field use radio communication at all unless absolutely necessary since the radio signals will be "like a huge flashing beacon" to the enemy who will be able to figure out where the t

        • by westlake (615356)

          when facing an enemy that's not stuck in the middle ages it may not be such a good idea to have troops in the field use radio communication at all unless absolutely necessary since the radio signals will be "like a huge flashing beacon" to the enemy who will be able to figure out where the troops are

          So you deploy decoys - other beacons to smoke them out. Shouldn't be impossible to make the illlusion convincing. Firing on the decoy exposes their new position.

          • by mikael_j (106439)

            ...other beacons to smoke them out.

            And they'd do the same. This would not be a bunch of unorganized rebels with AK-47s and a few RPGs, it wouldn't even be the personal army of some tinpot dictator, it would be a real army with modern equipment and proper training.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            It's very handy to be able to destroy a target with hundreds of thousands of dollars of missiles from thousands of miles away. It is, unfortunately, very cheap to buy rocket launchers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they can change position in minutes: they're natives, they live there, they can leave weapons on the ground and walk away while the next few guerrillas take up arms and start shooting. And it's cheap to train up a few idiots to pop up on a rooftop, shoot weapons, and run away: the Afghans developed

            • by stdarg (456557)

              Our focus definitely needs to be on AI weapons because it's the only thing that can react fast enough in those situations. Someone pops up on a rooftop like you say and fires a shot. Have a few microphones lying around that allow a computer to triangulate the source of the noise and within 1/10 second return fire. Seems like it would be pretty accurate since a person can't move too far in 1/10 second.

      • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@@@laurencemartin...org> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @04:46PM (#32066338)

        its the 3 on a match principle if you are transmitting for more than 30 seconds at a time on a radio

        YOU HAVE BEEN FOUND AND WILL MOST LIKELY BE DEAD IN THE NEXT 30 SECONDS

        and this has been true for the last like 20-30 years

        the trick is not to intercept and decode the signal its to find the transmitter

        why do you think that most semi fixed transmitters have a way to separate the antenna and the actual transmitter??

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Protoslo (752870)
        If you read TFA, you will learn that in fact the subject of the article, the JTAC, was on the day of the reporting experiencing jamming from equipment in the convoy. The reporter has the curiosity of a rock (or is scared Wired won't get another exclusive), so he doesn't elaborate, but I suspect he is referring to the Army's own IED jammers, i.e. the Warlock system. So if it is that easy for us to accidentally jam our own signals...

        Also, crypto hardware that outpaces anything you've ever heard of? Give
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chris Mattern (191822)

        You don't need any decryption or code-breaking to get a quite valuable piece of information from a transmission--namely, that there's a guy with a transmitter, and he's right exactly >here.

      • by Zironic (1112127)

        the millitary doesn't run on magic, they don't have better crypto hardware then anyone else. They just have more money to spend then most people consider sane.

  • 'secure frequencies' (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DomHawken (1335311)
    Love to know about this - there's no such thing as a 'secure frequency', if you know it, you can jam it. I'm assuming 'secure' here obviously means more than 'we've switched to a new one they can't guess' - hoping and there's some cool spread-spectrum, channel jumping geekness occurring, or even better some new tech way beyond the levels of current software-defined radio open source stuff that's ahead of the game. I love radio - whether it be it cell phones, wifi, ham's bouncing signals off the moon or dis
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by throughwithit (897185)

      In this case, "secure" means encrypted. Unless there are special super-secret parts of the EMS that no-one knows about?

      Have Quick [wikipedia.org] is the channel jumping tech you were hoping for :)

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

Working...