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  #31  
Old 10-12-2020, 02:04 PM
Lurken Lurken is offline
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Originally Posted by bash View Post
If instead you run the game where an EMP acts more like a real life EMP there's damage to power grids and some totally unshielded electronics but plenty of electronics survive. In that case there's no problem at all talking about drones and UAVs that existed in the timeline of the game and how they might be used at the table or in the co text of adventures.
You forget the loss of lives, the loss of knowhow, the loss of production capabilities, the loss of spare parts. That is in the nuclear exchange only. Then add starvation, sickness, desperation, exposure to elements. As a final kicker, add a war that drags on for another 2-3 years, grinding even more spares and materiel.

At the start of the war, totally plausible. Directly after the nuclear exchange, just a little burnt but can still operate. After the ongoing chaos, destruction and war it will be quite rare to find high tech stuff. As specified on the books themselves. That high-tech stuff is lost and will not be replaced. Except for the RDF, where they can enjoy of local high tech support of the Israelies and Saudies, and the nuclear exchange was lesser there.
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Old 10-12-2020, 03:09 PM
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Default Which Lasts Longer, Tech or Meat?

Your arguments are quite logical, Lurken. I don't disagree with you per se, but consider the per capita amount of tech left by 2000. As more and more people die off due to nuclear warfare, starvation, disease, exposure, and/or conventional combat attrition, the ratio of tech to people might stay the same or even increase.

In other words, as the population decreases, there are fewer people making use of available tech. So, some tech might not get used up as quickly as it would if there were more people around to use it. This could apply to drones/UAVs, or the parts needed to jury rig one.

We tend to think that tech will get used up, and people killed, at roughly the same rate, but that isn't necessarily the case. I posit that the faster people die off, the more slowly that remaining available tech will get used up. Obviously, as modern manufacturing grinds to a halt, very little, if any, new tech will be produced, but for a time- one could argue that this period would occur around the year 2000- the rate by which tech would be used up by surviving people would be so slow that the amount of tech still left to use might last longer than one would think.

I know it's a video game, but one encounters this phenomenon in the Fallout series, where there are so few survivors left in some parts of the wasteland that an explorer will, from time to time, encounter pockets of forgotten, unused, viable tech.

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  #33  
Old 10-12-2020, 06:54 PM
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You forget the loss of lives, the loss of knowhow, the loss of production capabilities, the loss of spare parts. That is in the nuclear exchange only. Then add starvation, sickness, desperation, exposure to elements. As a final kicker, add a war that drags on for another 2-3 years, grinding even more spares and materiel.
For starters, the US is absolutely lousy with technology and has been for decades. It's got layers of technology in scrap yards, junk yards, and back yards. It's also lousy with cars, books, airplanes, boats, lawnmowers, guns, and schools. In addition it's got mandatory childhood education and a high literacy rate. This was just as true in the 90s as it is today.

That means even if you reduce the population by half (as per Howling Wilderness) you've still got a huge population of people and tons of technological knickknacks lying around. With half the population you've actually got more knickknacks per person and a smaller support load in terms of food, water, and shelter. Loss of production and spares doesn't mean as much because everyone is surrounded by spares.

With spares readily available the average community college would have the books needed to get a lot of small scale infrastructure up and running. Even if all the knowhow didn't already exist in that population. I also don't think it's right to assume that the US and other countries pre-TDM wouldn't start Civil Defense programs back up in earnest, even just free classes on stuff like first aid and survival skills.

The people still kicking in July 2000 are going to have gotten together to survive the three years after TDM. I don't see them not trying to rebuild some force multipliers using salvaged/scavenged technology and equipment. Anything that makes people's lives easier to helps more survive it going to be useful and a desirable use of resources.
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  #34  
Old 10-12-2020, 08:23 PM
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So far, there's a lot of valid points on both sides of the argument.
I would add though, that it does not matter if the knowledge and tech are available, if said tech does not help people stay alive, those people will not give a shit about that tech.
If it doesn't get food for them, doesn't give them shelter, if it cannot be traded for something they need... then it is just so much extra junk lying around in the world.
Which does leave it available for those people who are interested in it.

But ultimately, it comes down to what you as a Referee and you as a Player want from the game.
I've declined invites to some games because they were too sci-fi for what I expected of T2k, I've quit other games because they were too damned harsh with an attrition rate of one dead PC every four or five sessions and the game was a grind and not an enjoyable hobby.
Everybody has their own take on what the game world could be like.

It's worth remembering that before we try to shove our own personal take on the game down someone else's throat
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  #35  
Old 10-13-2020, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Your arguments are quite logical, Lurken. I don't disagree with you per se, but consider the per capita amount of tech left by 2000. As more and more people die off due to nuclear warfare, starvation, disease, exposure, and/or conventional combat attrition, the ratio of tech to people might stay the same or even increase.

In other words, as the population decreases, there are fewer people making use of available tech. So, some tech might not get used up as quickly as it would if there were more people around to use it. This could apply to drones/UAVs, or the parts needed to jury rig one.

We tend to think that tech will get used up, and people killed, at roughly the same rate, but that isn't necessarily the case. I posit that the faster people die off, the more slowly that remaining available tech will get used up. Obviously, as modern manufacturing grinds to a halt, very little, if any, new tech will be produced, but for a time- one could argue that this period would occur around the year 2000- the rate by which tech would be used up by surviving people would be so slow that the amount of tech still left to use might last longer than one would think.

I know it's a video game, but one encounters this phenomenon in the Fallout series, where there are so few survivors left in some parts of the wasteland that an explorer will, from time to time, encounter pockets of forgotten, unused, viable tech.

-
I agree with this and I could see RC toys being "weaponized" and used like a poor man's MCLOS missile, ala TREMORS II.
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  #36  
Old 10-16-2020, 07:17 AM
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In regards to trying to construct a drone, some problems I can see with it are: -
1. finding electronics that haven't been damaged by the war (fire, EMP, etc. etc.)
2. finding people with the skills to put put those electronics together to make the control system - it's not just a case of having the electronics skill, you would need someone who has at least minimal knowledge of how aircraft work.
3. finding people who have the knowledge to construct the drone to allow it to carry something like a camera etc. etc. - cameras and particularly video cameras of that era were typically bulky and heavy in comparison to what we're used to today, any drone would have to have the motor power to lift that and also fly with it, then you have to consider the power source...

It's not as simple as throwing a motor onto a frame, adding some axles and wheels, adding a driver's position and saying you can make ATVs
Keep in mind that you are talking to one such person who can do exactly what you are describing. Have been building model rockets and remote controlled model aircraft for literally decades - started doing so in college and continue to do so. Modified my son's drone to make it more efficient that he used for his weather forecasting service. So yes those people are out there. And have built a very serviceable remote controlled airplane in college using basically scraps and junk to do so.

Does that make them common - no obviously not. But plausible - heck yes.

Oh and Legbreaker - for the record - you can build a pretty damn good model airplane and or drone using very low tech items. You dont need what the creators of the game would have called high tech to do it.

FYI - its one reason I love the original Flight of the Phoenix movie - shows you exactly what could be done by a determined group of people how have an aeronautical engineer with them who knows about aerodynamics and how to build a very scaled up version of a model airplane.

As for why you would take the time to build a drone after the TDM - look at the Ozarks module and you get an idea what kind of advantages they would give you.
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  #37  
Old 10-16-2020, 07:40 AM
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ONE person.
How many left after 5 years of nuclear, chemical and biological war which in some parts of the planet have left a mere 3% of the population still breathing?
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  #38  
Old 10-16-2020, 08:13 AM
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Keep in mind that you are talking to one such person who can do exactly what you are describing. Have been building model rockets and remote controlled model aircraft for literally decades - started doing so in college and continue to do so. Modified my son's drone to make it more efficient that he used for his weather forecasting service. So yes those people are out there. And have built a very serviceable remote controlled airplane in college using basically scraps and junk to do so.

Does that make them common - no obviously not. But plausible - heck yes.

Oh and Legbreaker - for the record - you can build a pretty damn good model airplane and or drone using very low tech items. You dont need what the creators of the game would have called high tech to do it.

FYI - its one reason I love the original Flight of the Phoenix movie - shows you exactly what could be done by a determined group of people how have an aeronautical engineer with them who knows about aerodynamics and how to build a very scaled up version of a model airplane.

As for why you would take the time to build a drone after the TDM - look at the Ozarks module and you get an idea what kind of advantages they would give you.
As far as I recall, nobody said it was not plausible.
What we did say is that while it's possible, it's not probable.
So you're one person who can do it. So what?
One person who might not have survived the war anyway.
Even if you did survive the war, so what?
You can't be in more than one place at once. So you make a drone or two for the military forces in the region you're in. So what?
It does not make drones a common item, it does not mean that drones will be found all over the place.
Your existence in T2k is not guaranteed and your ability to construct drones is not guaranteed, so where does that leave us?
Right back in the "there's definitely the possibility, but there's no certainty" area.
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  #39  
Old 10-16-2020, 09:32 AM
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FYI guys - the RC/model rocket club at RPI where I went had a lot of members - and I have met a lot more over the years. There is a lot of people out there who can do this. So no I am not the only person who can do this. I am pointing out that at least one member of the board has the skills and knowledge to do it.

Thus can it be done - yup. And would make a great adventure where you get sent out to gather up the necessary parts to be able to either put drones back into shape to fly or make jury rigged ones that would be able to be used for basic recon and possibly attack missions (with the emphasis there on attack meaning ram into something with an explosive charge not fire a weapon and return)

Or fun missions like being sent to search for rocket motors using an old copy of a magazine that shows the shop did exist at one time in order to make a bunch of unguided rockets to use for helping to either defend or attack a town. And running into various people who really dont like the group much on the way.

And yes you can put a warhead on a model rocket. We did it in college - rocket was supposed to go straight up and have the warhead (a bunch of M80's wrapped together) explode in mid-air. But instead it went off course and detonated in the middle of the football field instead (luckily with no one on it). Coach was just a little pissed.
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  #40  
Old 10-16-2020, 09:45 AM
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FYI guys - the RC/model rocket club at RPI where I went had a lot of members - and I have met a lot more over the years. There is a lot of people out there who can do this. So no I am not the only person who can do this. I am pointing out that at least one member of the board has the skills and knowledge to do it.

Thus can it be done - yup. And would make a great adventure where you get sent out to gather up the necessary parts to be able to either put drones back into shape to fly or make jury rigged ones that would be able to be used for basic recon and possibly attack missions (with the emphasis there on attack meaning ram into something with an explosive charge not fire a weapon and return)

Or fun missions like being sent to search for rocket motors using an old copy of a magazine that shows the shop did exist at one time in order to make a bunch of unguided rockets to use for helping to either defend or attack a town. And running into various people who really dont like the group much on the way.

And yes you can put a warhead on a model rocket. We did it in college - rocket was supposed to go straight up and have the warhead (a bunch of M80's wrapped together) explode in mid-air. But instead it went off course and detonated in the middle of the football field instead (luckily with no one on it). Coach was just a little pissed.
One nuke on that town and your entire club is... well, to be really blunt, totally irrelevant.

And even if they escape a nuke, there's the panic, the food shortages, the riots (with all the violence that can occur), the diseases, the radiation, the grind of daily survival in the hell of the post-apocalypse...
Really, what good is a drone when you're starving to death, you can't get enough fuel for your vehicles, you don't have enough ammunition to fend off even a half-arsed bunch of bandits and you don't have the medicine to deal with a minor infection?

What you did with a model rocket in college is completely irrelevant, it's T2k, the world as you knew it is so completely and totally fucked, your fun with rockets will not keep you alive.

I have no problem with a drone or two being available as a special encounter but to imply that every second American in the game will have access to the parts/skills to make one is really straining the suspension of disbelief.
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  #41  
Old 10-16-2020, 11:36 AM
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One nuke on that town and your entire club is... well, to be really blunt, totally irrelevant.

And even if they escape a nuke, there's the panic, the food shortages, the riots (with all the violence that can occur), the diseases, the radiation, the grind of daily survival in the hell of the post-apocalypse...
Really, what good is a drone when you're starving to death, you can't get enough fuel for your vehicles, you don't have enough ammunition to fend off even a half-arsed bunch of bandits and you don't have the medicine to deal with a minor infection?

What you did with a model rocket in college is completely irrelevant, it's T2k, the world as you knew it is so completely and totally fucked, your fun with rockets will not keep you alive.

I have no problem with a drone or two being available as a special encounter but to imply that every second American in the game will have access to the parts/skills to make one is really straining the suspension of disbelief.
I am not going to say it is super common, but I do not think it is as rare as you make it out to be. I know more people who can build a model rocket/simple RC plane than can do medical care, or grow food (not talking small garden). In my immediate group of about 10-15 people I know four who have built RC planes, three who have built computers from scratch (and yes I know this is different from build a drone, but skills are kind of the same). So yes it is not going to be a every man skill, but I do not think that the skill is going to be the big limiting factor. I think parts are going to be the bigger factor, but even there I am not sure that they will be as super rare as some are trying to make it out to be. Uncommon for sure, stuff of legend not even close. But that is just my two cents.
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  #42  
Old 10-16-2020, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic View Post
One nuke on that town and your entire club is... well, to be really blunt, totally irrelevant.

And even if they escape a nuke, there's the panic, the food shortages, the riots (with all the violence that can occur), the diseases, the radiation, the grind of daily survival in the hell of the post-apocalypse...
Really, what good is a drone when you're starving to death, you can't get enough fuel for your vehicles, you don't have enough ammunition to fend off even a half-arsed bunch of bandits and you don't have the medicine to deal with a minor infection?

What you did with a model rocket in college is completely irrelevant, it's T2k, the world as you knew it is so completely and totally fucked, your fun with rockets will not keep you alive.

I have no problem with a drone or two being available as a special encounter but to imply that every second American in the game will have access to the parts/skills to make one is really straining the suspension of disbelief.
Stainless - please take a deep breath ok - no reason for this to get out of hand

One - I never said that every second American in the game has those skills - not once. So dont put words in my mouth and say I did. And the idea that just about every single person who has them is going to get killed is basically ridiculous.

Two - RPI was not nuked in the game - there wasnt a nuke anywhere near it - or for that matter a lot of Engineering schools that have similar people and skills (RIT and MIT come to mind right off the bat - neither of which were in nuke areas)

Three - you do realize that its not going to be a pack of starving animals everywhere in the US? That the country was hit hard but there are still army units functional as well as power being generated here and there. Thus in places like that people who have the skills will be in great demand to get the tech up and running again. And military units and organized communities would be where such people would probably be found.

Four - those who can do things like make a working drone or militarized model rockets will be doing it as part of defending their communities. Thats why people with tech skills would be high on the list of who gets into communities and who gets told to hit the road. To give those communities an advantage. Let alone for doing things like trying to get other equipment working.
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Last edited by Olefin; 10-16-2020 at 12:14 PM.
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  #43  
Old 10-16-2020, 04:47 PM
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This thread seems to be on the verge of boiling over. Please, let cooler heads prevail, and Keep it Civil.

I think we can all more or less agree on the following, as a sort of base-line:

Drones in T2k, c.2000?

Possible, yes.

Probability of encountering said, low.

As always, if you ref, the decision regarding if/how/when/why to include drones/UAVs in your T2kU is up to you.

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  #44  
Old 10-16-2020, 07:10 PM
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While I was indeed being blunt, very blunt, there is no threat of boiling over.
Like many forums, we seem to have an obsession with going over the same ground again and again so all that's happening here is the same for and against arguments being pitched over and over again.

However I will go back to one of my comments and expand upon it
Who the hell cares about making a drone, when they are trying to survive in the ruins of WW3?
There's a limited number of people who would see a use for a drone and they are most likely going to be military/security/police groups.
For the average person from the average town, even if they were the engineering professor at the local college, they are more likely going to be using their skills to get farming back into action, or the water system or the electrical system.
Having a drone won't put food on the table, so it's unlikely that many people will see any need for one.

EDIT:
Just to make this explicitly clear - nobody is arguing that drones could not exist or that they could not be constructed. Everyone pretty much agreed that the knowledge and the tech existed, everyone pretty much agreed that people with skills to make use of the knowledge & tech would still be alive in sufficient numbers and everybody pretty much agreed that there's even a good likelihood that the parts needed could be found.
So people should not be thinking that I am arguing that drones could not exist in the game world.
What I am asking, the question that nobody has answered, is "Why?"
Outside of certain groups, why would anyone bother with making a drone? The lack of people needing drones would make drones a scarce item. Encountering a drone would be a rare event.

Last edited by StainlessSteelCynic; 10-16-2020 at 09:11 PM. Reason: adding info
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Old 10-16-2020, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic View Post
While I was indeed being blunt, very blunt, there is no threat of boiling over.
Like many forums, we seem to have an obsession with going over the same ground again and again so all that's happening here is the same for and against arguments being pitched over and over again.

However I will go back to one of my comments and expand upon it
Who the hell cares about making a drone, when they are trying to survive in the ruins of WW3?
There's a limited number of people who would see a use for a drone and they are most likely going to be military/security/police groups.
For the average person from the average town, even if they were the engineering professor at the local college, they are more likely going to be using their skills to get farming back into action, or the water system or the electrical system.
Having a drone won't put food on the table, so it's unlikely that many people will see any need for one.

EDIT:
Just to make this explicitly clear - nobody is arguing that drones could not exist or that they could not be constructed. Everyone pretty much agreed that the knowledge and the tech existed, everyone pretty much agreed that people with skills to make use of the knowledge & tech would still be alive in sufficient numbers and everybody pretty much agreed that there's even a good likelihood that the parts needed could be found.
So people should not be thinking that I am arguing that drones could not exist in the game world.
What I am asking, the question that nobody has answered, is "Why?"
Outside of certain groups, why would anyone bother with making a drone? The lack of people needing drones would make drones a scarce item. Encountering a drone would be a rare event.
I can see several reason to use drones, now yes the ones that first come to mind are for the military/security/police type. If you come to an area that you have to move through to get to where you are going but it looks like it would be a great place to set up an ambush, do some recon with the drone. If you are defending a town/fort whatever you could do some recon of a larger area quicker than sending ground troops out, not as complete but quicker so you use the drones on the more open areas, and send ground troops out to the areas that can not be seen well from the drone. One is if you are moving mostly, the other if you are stationary but both will help you stay alive, and if your troops are alive and well the community is likely better off. Some other thoughts that I have for uses of drones, when resources are scares and sometimes hard to get, you can use the drone to do some of the searching for resources, or expand the area that you are looking for stuff. If it finds a likely spot you are able to look there instead of looking everywhere or spending more time out looking. I think that there are so many different ways that they can be used, that it is like any other piece of equipment, how useful is NVG's if you only do stuff during the day, or a surgical kit if the best first aid you have is basic.
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Old 10-17-2020, 12:41 AM
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I don't think it would be too difficult to build a simple UAV c.2000, but while it's one thing to construct a functional flying platform, it's entirely another to effectively militarize it. To give it recce/surveillance/spotting capability, you'd need to include live video feeds, imaging devices, and/or recording devices, etc.). Those sorts of electronics would be harder to find in the later years of the Twilight War than small engines and RC equipment, I would imagine. Without a proper bird's-eye view, it would be very difficult to turn an ad hoc drone into a weapons platform. You'd need LOS to target it effectively, and if you can see the target, it can probably see you too.
As an IT professional, I'd like to circle back around to this:

As Rae said, getting the motors, servos, etc. for a small drone wouldn't be as hard as getting the other electronics in 2000. The RC hobby has been around a long time. But getting a usable video signal off an RC platform in this era, without very specialized and proprietary equipment would be difficult.

The commercial drones you see in use now are all built upon a platform of open protocols, codecs, and software that have evolved since the late 90's.

802.11 WiFi standard was released in 1997 and clarified in 99, but widespread adoption of 802.11 networks only occurred after the release of 802.11b in mid-99 to 2000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11_(legacy_mode)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11b-1999

So without an open signal standard and products that use that standard, you would need to roll your own video transmission system. I'm a Ham and I can tell you it's possible, but it's not a compact system, again, especially in the mid-90's timeline.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_television

Now we are starting to need two skill sets: RC modeling and HAM radio Amateur TV expertise to kludge something that might be useful.

Most of your digital optics in the 90's were using CCDs and not CMOS and were still relatively bulky.

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/history/story08.html

Compact Storage/MMC cards came on to the scene in 95/97, so IMHO, that's your best option for video for a home-made drone at this point - drone goes up with video running the whole time, circles the target area, returns, then you pop the card, run it into a laptop (5.3 to 9 lbs back then), and watch the 12.1-inch SVGA TFT color LCD in 800x600 to see the drone video. Delayed video intel at best. But much easier than getting a video signal off the drone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MultiMediaCard

Military drones in this period, like the RQ-2A are using C-Band Line-Of-Sight microwave datalinks to transmit their data.

https://airandspace.si.edu/collectio...m_A20000794000

https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fmi3-04-155.pdf

https://fas.org/irp/program/collect/pioneer.htm

LOS Microwave means there's a microwave ground station, pointing a microwave dish at the UAV for the entire flight (or it's running over a UHF backup link with degraded video signal quality).

https://fas.org/irp/program/collect/avover1.jpg

So in summary, I think military UAV platforms are the only viable system for real-time intel in the 2000 timeline. Home-made UAVs will be hampered by the inability to transmit video in real time, and so could be useful for strategic (that cantonment is planting corn this year), but not tactical intelligence (here come 2 Gun Trucks!).

Last edited by Spartan-117; 10-17-2020 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 10-17-2020, 01:26 PM
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Default Fly, yes; spy, not so much.

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Originally Posted by Spartan-117 View Post
So in summary, I think military UAV platforms are the only viable system for real-time intel in the 2000 timeline. Home-made UAVs will be hampered by the inability to transmit video in real time, and so could be useful for strategic (that cantonment is planting corn this year), but not tactical intelligence (here come 2 Gun Trucks!).
Excellent analysis and summary, Spartan. Thanks for sharing your expertise.
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