Thursday, December 15, 2011

US Spy Drone GPS System Hijacked by Iran

The Christian Science Monitor reported today that an Iranian engineer proudly claimed that the Spy Drone's landing in Iran was no accident. He claimed that Iran had used a technique referred to as "spoofing" where the transmissions to the craft were jammed followed by transmitted data that caused the navigation system to function as if the drone's home base was in Iran. The craft landed in a location that had been well-prepared ahead of time indicating that there had been a reasonable expectation of success.

The only wrinkle appeared to be that the location for landing was a few meters off in elevation. This resulted in damage to the bottom of the drone.

According the the article, US officials were aware that the craft's GPS system was its Achilles heel and that similar events had occurred earlier with older drone models when Iraqi Shiite fighters supported by Iran downloaded encrypted transmissions using readily-available software. Up until this point no group had ever been able to actually take control of a drone.
Needless to say, it looks as if the US dropped the ball on this one. Once they were aware that the drone was going down, they should have prepared for a missile strike to that location to destroy as much of the craft as possible. If the US wants to use drones in the searches for nuclear facilities, then it must be prepared for this type of event. I will allow that it possible that the jamming and takeover of the GPS resulted in the US being unsure of the craft's location at first, but procedures need to be in place to locate a crash site as without delay. Now pretty much everyone will have access to the craft's technology. Iran does a brisk arms business with China, they will no doubt be a customer and/or partner in the work to reverse-engineer a new drone.
Link to article is below:

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