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Thread: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

  1. #41
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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    EagleAye, Tashah, Lord Tammerlain, et al,

    Don't fret, everyone noticed. It was the subject of a Pentagon Media Briefing.


    Q: Acknowledging that this video only just came out and that you're probably still looking at it, can you give us at least an initial assessment as to whether or not the aircraft in the video is legitimately -- could be a Sentinel or not? And if so, can you give us any idea about whether or not you agree it could have landed somehow -- or somewhat intact?

    CAPT. KIRBY: No. (Chuckles.) No, we're just not -- we've -- certainly we've had a chance to look at the images, and there are folks looking at them. But we're not going to comment beyond that.

    Q: But --

    Q: Do you -- do you believe the Iranians have the drone?

    CAPT. KIRBY: Just -- we're not going to comment about this particular topic.

    Q: But you did put out a statement last week saying you'd lost a drone, and you thought this might be it.

    MR. LITTLE: We said, you know, all week that, you know, we did have a UAV go missing. But you know, when it comes to sensitive reconnaissance missions, we call them sensitive for a reason. So we're not going to add to what we said over the weekend.

    Q: But don't you think you at least owe the public at least a general assessment as to whether we should reject out of hand that this is -- you know, that this is -- this could be one of these aircraft, if it's -- looks like a mock-up or a model or -- shouldn't there be at least some truth-telling here that would at least put some reality to the claims?

    MR. LITTLE: I don't have anything to add to what John said.

    And that is that we're not going to comment one way or the other at this -- at this stage.

    Q: But to be clear on that, you're not -- you can't call this a fake; that you can't say categorically what the Iranians have put out is a fake.

    MR. LITTLE: I'm not commenting at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by EagleAye View Post
    Folks, PLEASE have a look at this... I've mentioned this several times and I'm amazed no one else notices.
    (COMMENT)

    There are a couple of comments the Iranians made that are confusing, involving the word "simulation."

    TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior parliamentarian underlined Tehran's advanced technological capabilities and possibilities, and said the Iranian Armed Forces intend to simulate the design and reproduce the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft that they downed in Eastern Iran last week.

    We don't understand exactly what they meant by that.

    It is possible that the Iranians are attempting to shield how damaged the UAV is. They want to put on a very good display for a media event and maybe make America nervous about the fact that the RQ-170 was recovered fully intack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    I'm a bit surprised that the drone was apparently not equipped with redundant mechanical/electronic self-destruct safeguards.
    (COMMENT)

    I would not be surprised if the UAV is in itty-bitty pieces, not suitable for display. Stealth design is not known for its glide characteristics. If it fell from any serious altitude, there would not be much left.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    Addition

    The Iranians are believed to have received jammers from Russia which could have been used to block the signal from the US pilots, allowing for the Iranians to override the drone controls
    (COMMENT)

    I would not put too much faith in this rumor. Soviet Jammers, relative to this technology, are notoriously bad. We have used GPS Guided munitions to destroy jammers designed to protect against GPS guided munitions. Secondly, most US UAVs are programmed to auto-return if they lose the control link. This has been standard for quite some time.

    No, there is something else in play here that has not been disclosed.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

  2. #42
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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post

    I would not put too much faith in this rumor. Soviet Jammers, relative to this technology, are notoriously bad. We have used GPS Guided munitions to destroy jammers designed to protect against GPS guided munitions. Secondly, most US UAVs are programmed to auto-return if they lose the control link. This has been standard for quite some time.

    No, there is something else in play here that has not been disclosed.

    Most Respectfully,
    R
    Kvant 1L222 Avtobaza Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) system | Defense Update


    1L222 operates over the Ku and X bands (8-18 GHz frequency range)and its effective range is 150 km. It covers 360 degrees hemisphere, monitoring up to 60 targets simultaneously.

    Some reports are hinting about the role the Avtobaza system had in the alleged downing of U.S. stealth drone by the Iranian electronic warfare and air defense units early December.
    The story that I have heard is that the Iranians jammed the link then provided thier own to fool the drone. No idea if it is true or not, but that the drone is intact is obviously not true.
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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Secondly, most US UAVs are programmed to auto-return if they lose the control link. This has been standard for quite some time.
    Roger that. We lost the uplink with a drone once. It auto-returned to base three hours later.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    No, there is something else in play here that has not been disclosed.
    I agree. Something here is just not... quite right.

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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    Thanks, folks. I was starting to wonder with people saying, "Oh it does look intact!" NOT!

    I just found this about the Russian jammers and ELINT systems that Iran is using:
    Warsaw Pact / Russian Emitter Locating Systems / ELINT Systems
    Here's a snippet (my bold):
    VLO = Very Low Observable, DTOA = Differential Time-of-Arrival
    The widely propagated public claims that DTOA Emitter Locating Systems are 'passive anti-stealth radars' is difficult to fathom. All DTOA ELS systems are most effective at detecting and tracking omnidirectional emitters. For the DTOA ELS to function, at least three of the widely spaced antenna/receiver systems must detect the very same emission from the target. This is why the Warsaw Pact's Ramona/Tamara family of DTOA systems was used primarily to track IFF, SSR, VOR/DME, Tacan, JTIDS/Link-16 and other omni emission sources from NATO aircraft. A narrow and low sidelobe pencil beam emission from an X/Ku-band radar is even under the most favourable geometrical conditions not going to concurrently illuminate three or more DTOA ELS stations, spaced tens of miles apart, so the DTOA system cannot perform its geolocating function. With low gain antennas needed to properly cover the required angular extent, the notion that DTOA systems can lock on to and track sidelobes from X/Ku-band AESAs is simply not supportable from a basic radio physics perspective. The only possible scenario in which such a DTOA ELS could track a VLO aircraft is where the aircraft is transmitting via an omni antenna JTIDS/Link-16 terminal while penetrating hostile airspace. This is so unlikely that it cannot be considered seriously.
    Last edited by EagleAye; 12-11-11 at 02:39 PM.
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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    Lord Tammerlain, et al,

    While nothing is impossible, it is highly improbable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    ... ... ...
    The story that I have heard is that the Iranians jammed the link then provided thier own to fool the drone. No idea if it is true or not, but that the drone is intact is obviously not true.
    (COMMENT)

    For this to be true, or even plausible, the Iranians would have to overcome three important factors; all of which are worth the loss if it discloses these capabilities.

    • To simultaneously jam the US control link and establish a hostile control link substitution is a very neat trick. You have to somehow distinguish the bandit control link in such a manner that it is immune to the jamming waveform. But then, it would not be identical to the UAV receiver.

    • Like any Intrusion Detection System, embedded in the control signal is a security code (supervisory line) that maintains the channel lock and open telemetry. If this is broken, the default condition is to ignore the all signals. In addition to recreating all the flight control signals and ISR instrument package commands, the hostile substitution must match the NSA Type 1 encryption and insert a new supervisory link. Even UAVs that use DES and AES encryption schemes, are computer programmable and would take longer to break then the exposure time of the mission.

    • Finally, long range UAVs (almost anything that is over the horizon capable) relies on satellite telemetry. The antenna array is pointed up, not down, very directional. In order to jam "and" substitute (simultaneously), the Iranians need an intercept platform that is between the UAV and the satellite. And that would be very dangerous and could require a flight path over territory outside Iranian control. All such platforms are highly susceptible to Anti-Radiation Missile interdiction. They are quite noisy (big footprint) and can be seen by everyone for thousands of miles due to the altitude they must maintain to be effectively between the UAV and the Satellite.


    (OCCUM's RASOR)

    It would be much more likely that the UAV suffered a mechanical failure than falling prey to remote control interception.

    Most respectfully,
    R
    Last edited by RoccoR; 12-11-11 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Spelling Correction

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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    An Iranian engineer says a team of specialists from his country hacked into a GPS navigator of the RQ-170 stealth drone and forced it to land inside the country.

    The unnamed engineer told The Christian Science Monitor on Thursday that serious weaknesses in the drone's navigation systems allowed Iranians to spoof the GPS signals it received, fooling the drone into thinking it was landing at an American airfield in Afghanistan.

    “The GPS navigation is the weakest point. The spoofing technique that the Iranians used - which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data - made the drone land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications from the US control center,” he stated.

    The Iranian engineer highlighted that Iran's takedown of the most advanced US stealth drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, did not occur overnight.

    Rather, Iranian experts have been studying drones since 2007, and especially since 2009, which is when the RQ-170 was first deployed in Afghanistan, he noted.

    Iranians have in recent years managed to reverse engineer the systems of two unmanned aerial vehicles that they earlier downed in the country, and figured out their vulnerabilities.

    On December 4, Iran downed with minimum damage the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft which was flying over the eastern city of Kashmar, some 225km (140 miles) from the Afghan border.

    The capture of the RQ-170 stealth drone by Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit occurred as the advanced US-built reconnaissance was on its very first mission over Iran. Its seizure at the moment means that Iranians were alerted in advance about the precise moment of its secret arrival.
    PressTV - Iran hacked GPS, hunted US drone

    This is Iran's statement on how they brought down the drone from the English version of their state news agency.

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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    Good, watch the creeps. Who cares what they think, they are off-the-chart insane.

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    Re: Drone crash unmasks U.S. spying effort in Iran

    Frolicking Dinosaurs, et al,

    This gets better and better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs View Post
    PressTV - Iran hacked GPS, hunted US drone

    “The GPS navigation is the weakest point. The spoofing technique that the Iranians used - which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data - made the drone land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications from the US control center,” he stated.

    This is Iran's statement on how they brought down the drone from the English version of their state news agency.
    (COMMENT)


    Yeh, this is a really neat trick. If they can do this, we need to hire them. The RQ-170 is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). It has eyes and a pilot that can see what is happening. The pilot has a flight plan and a map. Even if the Iranians could overcome the GPS, the pilot could still see heads-up display data and navigate into allied airspace (dead reckoning). It would be very difficult to fool a pilot into landing halfway through the mission plan. They can (theoretically) interfere with the GPS, but they can't stop the clock. I find it hard to believe that they could do this without fighting the pilot for manual control (without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications from the US control center).

    But, anything is possible. I don't think this evolving Iranian story is very credible - at least not yet.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

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