Ryan Graves: UFOs, Fighter Jets, and Aliens | Lex Fridman Podcast #308 | Summary and Q&A

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August 1, 2022
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Lex Fridman Podcast
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Ryan Graves: UFOs, Fighter Jets, and Aliens | Lex Fridman Podcast #308

TL;DR

Former Navy fighter pilot Lieutenant Ryan Graves discusses his experiences detecting UFOs and the importance of investigating these sightings for national security reasons.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How accurate was the flying in the movie Top Gun?

Graves believes the flying in the movie was accurate in terms of the type of flying and the approach to the mission, although liberties were taken. However, the movie didn't capture the complexity and chess game involved in dogfights or high-threat scenarios accurately.

Q: What is the mission described in the movie?

The mission in the movie is a pre-planned strike where a group of F-18s ingresses low to a heavily defended area. Their job is to stay under radar and target surface-to-air threats. They have to adapt to real-time targets and work together to ensure they're pointed at the right targets.

Q: How do fighter jets avoid surface-to-air missiles?

Fighter jets can fly low to the ground to avoid surface-to-air missiles. The clutter on the ground creates a camouflage effect for radar systems, making it harder for them to track the aircraft.

Q: How does autonomy and AI impact future fighter jet tactics?

The introduction of autonomy and AI in fighter jets can lead to more stochastic tactics. With advanced technology and distributed communication networks, each tactical scenario can be customized, making it difficult for the enemy to anticipate and respond effectively.

Q: How accurate was the flying in the movie Top Gun?

Graves believes the flying in the movie was accurate in terms of the type of flying and the approach to the mission, although liberties were taken. However, the movie didn't capture the complexity and chess game involved in dogfights or high-threat scenarios accurately.

More Insights

  • UFO sightings by navy fighter pilots have occurred on multiple occasions.

  • Investigating these sightings is important for national security reasons.

  • Flying low in high-threat scenarios requires careful strategy and coordination.

  • Autonomy and AI can introduce randomness and improve fighter jet tactics.

  • Landing on aircraft carriers is a challenging and precise task, especially in harsh weather conditions.

  • The movie Top Gun accurately depicted certain aspects of flying, but dogfights are less tactically relevant in modern scenarios.

  • The introduction of autonomy and AI can revolutionize future fighter jet operations.

Summary

Lieutenant Ryan Graves, a former Navy fighter pilot, discusses his experiences detecting UFOs and the importance of investigating these sightings for national security. He also delves into the accuracy of the movie "Top Gun" and shares insights on dogfighting, hypersonic flight, bird strikes, and his career trajectory in the Navy.

Questions & Answers

Q: How accurate was the flying in the movie "Top Gun"?

The flying in the movie was realistic in terms of the type of flying and the approach to the mission. However, it didn't capture the complexity and strategic nature of the chess game that occurs during dogfights.

Q: Can you describe the mission in the movie?

The mission in the movie was a pre-planned strike in a heavily defended area. The initial package of four F-18s had to ingress low to avoid surface-to-air threats. The mission involved flying low to the ground and then popping up to strike the target.

Q: Is flying low to the ground to avoid surface-to-air missiles a realistic tactic?

Yes, it is realistic. By flying at low altitudes, the clutter on the ground can camouflage the aircraft from radar systems. Additionally, when radar systems are located high and looking down, the clutter can have an effect on their detection capabilities.

Q: Can you explain integrated air defense systems and their impact on the difficulty of the mission?

Integrated air defense systems involve the linking of air defense sensors and weapons. This connectivity and distribution of systems make it challenging to neutralize the threat by taking out a single target. Even if one target is eliminated, the system can still intercept the aircraft from another radar location.

Q: How important is it to have a full picture of the environment during a mission?

Having a complete understanding of the environment is crucial for ensuring the safety and success of the mission. It allows the pilot to avoid danger zones and make informed decisions. Without a comprehensive picture, the pilot's life is at risk.

Q: Are there higher and lower danger regions within an area based on the surface-to-air missile systems?

Yes, there are regions with higher and lower danger based on the location of surface-to-air missile systems. It is essential to have knowledge of these areas to avoid potential threats and ensure the aircraft's safety.

Q: Can autonomous systems play a role in creating randomness in tactical environments?

Yes, by introducing artificial intelligence into tactical environments, it is possible to generate the appearance of randomness. This randomness adds complexity to the enemy's decision-making processes, making it more challenging for them to respond effectively.

Q: Are there any disadvantages to dogfighting in modern warfare?

Dogfighting is not as tactically relevant in modern warfare due to the range and effectiveness of weapon systems. Engagements typically occur at significant distances, making traditional dogfighting less common and less theatrical.

Q: Are there scenarios where dogfighting may still be necessary?

While dogfighting is less common, there may be scenarios, such as with improvised enemy systems, where close-range engagements are necessary. In these cases, dogfighting skills become more relevant.

Q: What are the speeds and accelerations like for different Mach numbers?

Crossing the sound barrier (Mach 1) is not noticeable to the pilot. Additionally, acceleration and deceleration speeds vary depending on the aircraft and maneuvers. For example, deceleration at high speeds can be violent due to air friction.

Q: Are hypersonic flights common in military aircraft?

Hypersonic human flight is not commonly employed in military aircraft. Hypersonic technology is primarily used in missiles and other weapon systems. Its application in fighter aircraft is limited, and the focus is more on long-range capabilities.

Q: Do hypersonic missiles pose a challenge to defense systems?

Hypersonic missiles present a challenge to detection systems due to their high speeds. Defense systems need to be able to detect and destroy these missiles quickly. Decreasing the response time is crucial in countering the threat they pose.

Q: How often do bird strikes occur during flights?

Bird strikes are relatively common occurrences for pilots. While catastrophic hits are less frequent, encounters with birds requiring pilot maneuvering or near-misses are relatively common. Airports often have systems and employees dedicated to dealing with bird-related safety measures.

Q: What should pilots do to avoid bird strikes?

Pilots are trained to go over birds instead of going under them to avoid collisions. Birds tend to drop straight down when startled, so going over them reduces the risk of collision.

Q: How stressful is it to maintain formation and stare at another aircraft for long periods of time?

Maintaining formation and focusing on another aircraft for extended periods can be very stressful. Pilots must pay close attention to visual checkpoints and frequently make precise adjustments to maintain position. The mental and physical demands can be challenging.

Q: Is there autonomy involved in tactical formation flying?

Tactical formation flying is currently a manual process that requires pilots to visually track and adjust their position relative to other aircraft. While there is potential for autonomy to assist in maintaining formation, the current approach is hands-on.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Lieutenant Ryan Graves has detected UFOs on multiple occasions during his time as a navy fighter pilot.

  • He emphasizes the importance of investigating these sightings for national security reasons.

  • Graves discusses the challenges of flying low in high-threat scenarios and the tactics used during missions.

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