This blog post only contains open-source information.


Context and Precedence

Circa 2013-2015 in addition to work I did in Mexico in that time period, I was also involved in a UAV project in connection with Cal Tech.  I met JohnD (Posts here as: Valueism) from Oslo,  Norway in connection with this project and others and traveled to Norway in regard drones in due time. We developed very advanced small UAVs that were propelled by ducted fans (guided by a tablet). Think of small, electrically powered jet engines. We partnered with Nikon (Japan) regarding optics.

I hired my daughter, Emilie, who you’ve seen on this blog before, to work with me. She’s holding a prototype at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (affiliated with Cal Tech), above.

We tested aircraft at Stead Airport (Former USAF Base) outside of Reno, where Sierra Nevada Corporation got its start and also tested. They also tested at Area 51 (Groom Lake) and we didn’t.

I’m getting to the point, just laying down some background so you will understand the context of my involvement.  I’m holding a different prototype, below.

Sierra Nevada Corporation developed Gorgon Stare. Gorgon Stare was good at tracking in many objects, but it couldn’t get down into doorways and take a look under trees and coverings. So we started talking about using the UAV’s (above) to augment Gorgon Stare. These small UAVs could be carried (think 30+) and released from an MQ-9, and descend, using very little energy, to take a look – 15 min flight time, and then either be command-detonated or just drop as an expendable.

By the end of 2015, I no longer worked with UAVs and had moved on.

Now to the point of this Sunday Sermonette 

There is a person I know who was, circa 2015, in a place where things were going on, where the US isn’t anymore, and he saw a weird-looking MQ-9 Reaper. “What’s that?” he asked, walking toward it, his attention drawn to specialized equipment under-wing.

“A Gorgon Stare Increment 2 MQ-9.”

“What’s it doing at (——–) Airfield – you mean it’s fully operational?”

“We’ve moved a long way from Increment 1.”

“Ok, I get it, but they haven’t armed the Gorgon Stare with something that turns the enemy to stone?”

“Not yet.”

It was a Sierra Nevada Corp integration with ARGUS-IS  (the Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System). That’s Increment 2. A big improvement over Increment 1, which saw extensive use in Afghanistan.

“And USGOV is going to use it in the US to collect against citizens domestically?”

No comment.

The mission of the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance – Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) program is to provide users a flexible and responsive capability to find, track and monitor events and activities of interest on a continuous basis in areas of interest. The overall objective is to increase situational awareness and understanding enabling an ability to find and fix critical events in a large area in enough time to influence events. ARGUS – IS provides military users an “eyes-on” persistent wide-area surveillance capability to support tactical users in a dynamic battlespace or urban environment.

Then while throwing this article up on the blog, I chanced upon a book, that I haven’t read yet.

Drawing on extensive access within the Pentagon and in the companies and government labs that developed these devices, Eyes in the Sky reveals how a top-secret team of mad scientists brought Gorgon Stare into existence, how it has come to pose an unprecedented threat to our privacy and freedom, and how we might still capitalize on its great promise while avoiding its many perils.


A government could conceivably identify and track protestors at a political rally… Think of several MQ-9 Increment 2 aircraft over Washington DC,  allowed to enter the controlled airspace.

The Chinese government now automatically tracks, recognizes, and evaluates the behavior of their citizens, and grades them on behavior. The Democrats swoon at the thought of doing that here.


Continued tomorrow (Monday) with Mind’s Eye


    • Keep in mind that this is all old enough that it’s out of date. In the world of tech, 2015 is ancient news. Things have moved forward. And we’ll get to that in this blog in the coming week.

    • Some of those are armed with charges to destroy landmines and IED’s, so they would shoot back – if they weren’t obsolete.

    • As I mentioned, all this is old news, and Gorgon Stare is open source now, on Wikipedia. The question to ask is where is went and what is there now.

      • Point taken. Likely most folks (like me, until this morning) are ignorant of even this level of capability. It’s a good starting point, and your hands on experience gives you creds with any new readers who might be dubious. When I pass stuff on, I include an admonishment to read the comments too.

        • The coming integration of many sources – and it’s here but getting more spooky – should be of concern. It may be inevitable in a digital society. That’s more of a philosophy question.

  1. In a few years they will take the word privacy out of the dictionary; we won’t need it anymore since privacy will no longer exist even as a concept.

  2. Someone smarter than me needs to find simple countermeasures to create GIGO. Now out of date, a simple baseball hat with LED bulbs around the brim would screw up surveillance cameras. While illegal, simple plastic license plate covers will defeat automated toll booth cameras. Disclaimer. I would never do that!

    • They simply follow you on the camera. Putting LED’s on your brim marks you. Remember that all of this is conducted in conjunction with ground teams. Sometimes the ground teams are morons and sometimes they are very good.

  3. So that short video “Kill Bots” is most likely real.

    Since, well, if you can see it you can kill it, and ‘it’ being us citizens.

    This, of course, being the video:

    Now, use this tech to stop the Border Rush, to wipe out the Cartels, to take the ChiComs down, trash the Mullahs, shut down the NORKs and so forth, fine with me.

    The use of military and paramilitary assets of the US government against the citizens of the US is, to me, treason or something very bad.

    • Ten year old tech, Beans.

      It could be used for good or evil. The question is whether you trust Jo/Ho and their shadowy leaders.

  4. Tech advancemis a given (kudos on your product development work). Appears surveillance on American’s seems to be the priority. Didn’t know about this stuff…scary. “What’s next? is always my concern.

    • Heavy AI and integration between electronics, AI internet intercepts, AI phones, AI credit and debit transactions, and AI surveillance. And it’s very close to being here. Very close.

      • Hollywood fiction meets real life…I’m guessing most of that is in play already, as if I care they know I ordered ice cream from Schwan’s or a new plow blade edge off Amazon…or worse, an old new stock tach/pto gauge for the ‘88 Massey from India off eBay (the dude had them!). Would the AI differentiate or would the NSA flag it as international espionage? No guess needed there…because they hav become corrupt, drinking their own brand of Kool-Aid.

        The Dem scum would salivate over a “social standing points system”, like China. Over my cold dead body.

        Tucker’s in a fly shop in Livingston, MT, (been there, good shop) and some nimrod spewing hate gets in his face physically and verbally (the self-righteous social media commenting complex come to life), Tucker stays calm and tells the guy to “calm down son.” Great response, totally deflates the clown. And with it going viral on certain conservative websites the guy just tanked his guide business. Can’t fix the moronic, and wouldn’t want to stop them from their own destruction in this social climate.

  5. Ordered the book.
    I have a hard copy library started for future generations.
    Knowledge is power.

  6. Having been out of the field for some years, I was stunned one day a few years ago to see full-on, side-scanning, SONAR, with *very* good resolution, being sold as a “Fish Finder”.

    Imaging quality of this sort was classified “TOP SECRET” when last I saw it in the 1990’s. I can just imagine (and I have a *very* good imagination, based on knowledge) what level of imagining, across ALL wavelengths, is available now.

    • That’s part of the point of this post. What I’m describing is so old and arcane that it’s gone from Top Secret Codeword to Wikipedia and YouTube.

  7. All the small drones I’ve seen look very spidery, with big propeller disks and a minimum of structure, and no housing over the whole thing. In the Larry picture, it looks like more than half the fan area is blocked by grille. If this is story development for a fiction book, I would plot that the rednecks finally got scared and started having build parties for their own. On net, technological innovation advantages the little guy more.

    > The reason not many drones use ducted fans is efficiency. Ducted fans are great for fast forward flight but not for static lift.
    > Explanation: Yes, the ‘duct’ reduces losses at the blade tips, However, adds significant losses at the intake lip and exit where the adjacent air is pulled into the flow.

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