Before you watch this short 5 minute video, I need to tell you an interesting tale about tech and its growth into our little world of consumer toys. But, for God’s sake….DO watch the video. You need to know the capability of TODAY’S technology, and where it is being used…right here in our own backyards.
Back in the 1980’s, I worked for Texas Instruments in Dallas. I was production control on several Defense Electronics programs, and several platforms (aircraft and such). I moved and tracked sub assemblies, up to and including complete units of FLIR, TOW, and other technology items, including what was called at the time “common module”.
My last year there was as the PC guy for the LASER room. Only a couple of the platforms used the LASER system TI had developed, and I had TS clearance to be able to be working there. I knew what the FLIRs did, and did very well.
I knew what the LASERS did, but never learned the EXACT platform they were used on (need to know, compartmentalized info)…until now. That system with the LASERS was called IRADS. And now, after a short 20 second Google search, I’ve learned what they went on…a little pointy plane called an F117.
It fits the timeline of when they were testing the Nighthawk…before the world knew it existed…until that crash in California of one blew the project wide open.
I loved the job there, loved the technology I had a hand in helping produce, and ever since, I’ve paid close attention to these kinds of systems…and what has now become BIG business, including use in finding, tracking, identifying, and in many cases, terminating bad guys and terrorists.
FLIRs of the 80s used gallium arsenide as part of the system of the common modules to convert the incoming video into infrared signal, allowing viewing of whatever the cameras were looking at in pitch black darkness. The key part of the ComMod conversion was called the DEWAR. The diameter of a beer can but half as tall. A big chunk of change for each one. The resolution was probably the equivalent of 1 megapixel cameras, or a bit more (maybe).
Fast forward 30 years…Drones are big news…and used to kill AQ guys…and lots of NON AQ guys…and now, some Americans in the wrong place in the sandbox.
Now…we come to current day….and DRONES. Those same FLIR systems can be found on drones, police and miltary aircraft, and even a lot of current consumer technology. As a comparison, I have a 16 megapixel digital camera that is the size of a pack of smokes. It shoots video in high definition.
I also have a Canon HD video camera that is maybe the size of a small Red Bull drink can. It has 32 gig of ram on board, is instant on, has 20x optical zoom, and with an additional 32 gig SD ram chip, can record 9 hours of HD video. Cost for both cameras? Just over $400 a couple of years ago.
My old SONY video camera had low light IR capability and could shoot in near complete darkness (albeit only about 15 feet of range). I’ve had that camera for almost 10 years. The point of this comparison of my hardware to this drone hardware is this….while I might be able to see drones way up in the sky in a random fashion someday in the future, right now, I’d never see the drone that saw me first, as many of us are aware, that have seen video on youtube and other sites that show the effects of drones, or other flying hardware, taking out bad guys setting up IED’s along some random sandbox roads or paths…and then…suddenly, they’re gone…as in “obliterated”. Blown up. Smithereened. I’m not saying that our fearless leaders in DC are going to come get all of us some day, or one day at a time….just that the technology for them to kill us without due process (just as we saw in the news weeks ago) exists. Here. Now.
Now, on to this video below. Using camera technology even more advanced than I’ve ever seen…ARGUS shows capabilities that I’d only seen “simulated” in the movies, such as the Bourne trilogy or Enemy of the State. The idea for this project was based on simple cell phone camera tech…made into a vast array….and making available unbelievable tracking ability
Watch the video. Learn what may already be in use…over your heads…in larger metro areas.
You. Can’t. Hide.
It’s as simple as that. You’ve been warned.