Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 08, 2011

Here Is The Drone

Hats off to Iran and its electronic warfare specialists.

To bring down the most sophisticated U.S. stealth drone known nearly completely intact is something very few other countries would be able to achieve. A real technical feat.

From the way Iran disguised the lower part of the drone it exhibits in that gymnasium we can assume that there is some damage at the bottom of the drone. Maybe they had a little accident while landing the drone after they took control of it. The also seem to have cut off the wings to allow for an easier transport.

Earlier I speculated that the drone was taken over by the line-of-sight control channel after its satellite control channel was severed by some electronic means. I have yet to see any other report mentioning that second control channel at all and as the way to take over the drone. But seeing the bird with so little damage in that video I am even more sure now than before that this was the way it was done.

Press TV:

Iran has announced that it intends to carry out reverse engineering on the captured RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft, which is also known as the Beast of Kandahar, and is similar in design to a US Air Force B-2 stealth bomber.

The most interesting part to reverse engineer is probably not the drone itself but the sensor package and communication equipment it carries. Any decent engineer would love to get her hands on that. Reverse engineering it will save a ton of money one would otherwise have to be spend in research and development costs to achieve that knowledge.

Press TV is by the way wrong when it asserts that this is a similar design as the B-2. The B-2 had its first flight in 1989, the RQ-170 likely in 2006/7. It is a generation younger and its stealth features are more sophisticated than the B-2's.

The U.S. has only ten or so of this sophisticated and likely very expensive type of drones. They are - for now - reportedly grounded to find ways to avert another such loss of a system and prestige.

But let us not forget the real important point here that has come to light with this Iranian drone acquisition. Despite flying such drones over Iran for years the U.S. has found no sign of an Iranian weapons program.

There is none to be found and that is the main point in this whole story.

Posted by b on December 8, 2011 at 01:24 PM | Permalink

Comments
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The flag with skulls instead of stars is a nice touch.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Dec 8, 2011 1:49:07 PM | 1

Why did it not self destruct? Seems incredible that a craft so advanced would not simply blow up if it found itself in a particular geographic coordinate.
Is it waiting for Ahmadinejad's voice to appear nearby?

Posted by: john | Dec 8, 2011 1:55:47 PM | 2

@john - one "spin" report said it has no self destruct. I don't believe that. But why should it self destruct if it was taken over on its legitimate control channel?

Just found a report from February 2005! U.S. Uses Drones to Probe Iran For Arms - Surveillance Flights Are Sent From Iraq

The Bush administration has been flying surveillance drones over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs and detect weaknesses in air defenses, according to three U.S. officials with detailed knowledge of the secret effort.

The small, pilotless planes, penetrating Iranian airspace from U.S. military facilities in Iraq, use radar, video, still photography and air filters designed to pick up traces of nuclear activity to gather information that is not accessible by satellites, the officials said. The aerial espionage is standard in military preparations for an eventual air attack and is also employed as a tool for intimidation.
...

Posted by: b | Dec 8, 2011 2:15:48 PM | 3

"Why did it not self destruct?"

Because its small, and so is its engine.

Weight is therefore going to be critical, and if that is the case then there is not much point packing it with explosives when what you really want to do is to pack it with sensors and cameras.

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 8, 2011 2:32:58 PM | 4

actually the design of this drone is beautiful.

i am sure the engineers doing the reengineering will be in absolute awe. i am also sure the engineers designing this drone lived their dream. those death skulls in the flag introduce some reality. however, I am sure, all sides involved on the ground, are not interested in death but enjoy playing with very expensive exciting toys.

i hope they find a way to to move the skulls to virtual reality, too.

in real life all plans for war will be stalled for a while I suppose. as western warfare relies more on electronics than on people (same with production and services), and they now do not know what Iranians can do, and can not be sure of anything, they will not dare to start something.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 8, 2011 2:39:03 PM | 5

Ah! What a nice treat to read this after spending hours on raking and bagging leaves! From something so down to earth to this drone of, yes, truly beautiful lines.

Is it now considered A-OK for one nation to send spy planes and now spy drones into another sovereign nation's air space? Just part of modern "diplomacy"?

How things have changed since Eisenhower lied about the U-2 spy plane flights out of embarrassment for the US doing such a thing....

Excellent posts, b. Thnx.

Posted by: jawbone | Dec 8, 2011 2:54:41 PM | 6

According to the Washington Post the drone was brought down near Kashmar, which is quite deep inside Iran.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/iran-says-us-spy-drone-was-flying-deep-inside-its-airspace-when-it-was-downed/2011/12/07/gIQABP5jbO_story.html

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=kashmar&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF-8&hnear=K%C4%81shmar,+Khorasan+Razavi,+Iran&gl=us&t=m&z=10&vpsrc=0

The question is why? Did the drone get lost, run out of fuel and crash land? Or was it really directed/controlled by the Iranians?

Posted by: Paul | Dec 8, 2011 3:00:26 PM | 7

you BLOW my mind b. I LOVE YOU.

Posted by: annie | Dec 8, 2011 3:25:17 PM | 8

In his latest “Deep Background” column in the December 2011 issue of The American Conservative, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi says that Obama recently issued a new secret finding authorizing stepped-up covert action against Iran, and the ostensible basis for this finding was apparently the scary Iranian assassination plot:

After the alleged Iranian government plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, the White House issued a finding to the intelligence community authorizing stepped-up covert action against Iran. A “finding” is top-level approval for secret operations considered to be particularly politically sensitive.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 8, 2011 3:28:05 PM | 9

just posted here. hopefully it will drive moa traffic.

Posted by: annie | Dec 8, 2011 4:47:57 PM | 10

What, THAT old thing? Pfft! It wasn't all that important .... no, really.
(That's been the typical media spin now that IRan has shown it)

Posted by: Cyrus | Dec 8, 2011 4:59:18 PM | 11

Authenticity of Iranian captured US drone questioned

You've already addressed the doubt raised, b, if I understand correctly.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 8, 2011 5:23:01 PM | 12

commenters at youtube are speculating it is a "trojan horse" - allowed to be captured because it will mislead the iranians - this seems implausible to me but i am just guessing

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. | Dec 8, 2011 5:26:23 PM | 13

b,
There's also the possibility that Drone control was remotely hacked - or that a trojan/virus leaked the software to Iran.

I direct your attention to this little number: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/

Why would the Pentagon even release info of their compromise? Was it because they knew that a foreign agency now had either entry to or a copy of command-and-control software and codes for Drone operation?

It's like stuxnet, in reverse gear!

Posted by: Jeremiah Cornelius | Dec 8, 2011 5:33:49 PM | 14

Fairly funny to see all the American excuses in the media after the Iranians out smarted them again. As the saying goes "Iran plays Chess, The US plays Checkers". It's the differance between having a smart strategy and sticking with it, and bumbling around like a 1 ton oaf on steroids.

So far the smart strategy has paid off bigtime for Iran. It has not only gotten rid of arch-rival Saddam and created a Shia ruled state in Iraq but got their enemy to do all the work (and foot the bill) for it. Not only that it has now got its two remaining threats the US and the Taliban bleeding each other dry in Afghanistan for a decade.

Iran should next teach Pakistan how to down the drones. If they can keep the US bogged down in Afghanistan/Pakistan they know they won't face an attack. Releasing video of the Sentinel drone was certainly a well played move.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 8, 2011 5:52:40 PM | 15

Comparison photo shows downed RQ-170 matches "Beast of Kandahar"
http://deepbluehorizon.blogspot.com/2011/12/comparison-photo-shows-downed-rq-170.html

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 8, 2011 6:57:32 PM | 16

My first impression was Hangar 51 (all over again).
I wonder if the Yankees, or the Jews, are contemplating loading a ton of incendiaries onto a Gulfstream and destroying the evidence?

I agree with b's speculation on the way the Iranians commandeered the drone. However, judging by the split on the leading edge of the port wing at the wing root, this was a VERY hard landing.
It's possible, and likely, that it was a wheels-up landing on a conventional aircraft runway. Once they had control they would have had time to practice flying it, and learning its characteristics, before attempting a landing. If its landing gear doesn't lower automatically, and they couldn't guess the relevant signal, then wheels-up was the only option. And if they didn't have control of things such as flaps and throttle it would also have been faster than 'desirable.

The wings have a significant dihedral (wing-tips higher than wing-roots) so in a hard landing the wings would tend to drop resulting in damage of the kind referred to above - whether wheels up or down.
I'm pretty sure they haven't cut the wing tips off. It's not a big plane and the wings look about the right length compared with the profile pics available on the www.

A translation of the sound track would be good.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 8, 2011 6:59:23 PM | 17

Numerous universities are involved in UAV technology, probably many with Pentagon funding.
http://www.uavm.com/uavcenters/academicspecialtycenters.html

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 8, 2011 7:03:03 PM | 18

"commenters at youtube are speculating it is a "trojan horse" - allowed to be captured because it will mislead the iranians - this seems implausible to me but i am just guessing"

Yeah, because it's well-known that the USA does that all the time, whereas it is quite unheard of for the US military to end up with egg on its face because it underestimated its opponent.

Right?


Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 8, 2011 8:05:06 PM | 19

US media also said it was no big deal if chinese get to look inside of the crashed stealth copter, when it was crashed in pakistan.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/if-china-saw-our-stealth-copter-its-no-big-deal/

Posted by: nikon | Dec 8, 2011 9:00:36 PM | 20

That U.S. flag with the skulls on it is a really nice touch too.

Posted by: Mary | Dec 8, 2011 9:19:27 PM | 21

Fox News just reported that the drone shown on Iranian TV is the real thing.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/08/iranian-tv-airs-purported-images-downed-us-drone/

"One official told Fox News on Thursday that the incident is a huge loss and makes the top-secret helicopter tail lost during the Usama bin Laden raid in Pakistan "look like a pittance." The official said there are real fears the Iranians will share this technology with the Russians and the Chinese, in addition to using it themselves."

Are Russian and Chinese scientists and engineers on their way to Tehran? Probably already there!

Fox is also reporting that the possibility of destroying/recovering it was rejected as it might be regarded as an act of war!

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/07/us-weighed-options-to-recover-destroy-drone-in-iran/

BTW, Pamela Geller is spitting nails - ha ha ha bloody ha! Cheered me up no end!

Posted by: blowback | Dec 8, 2011 10:20:33 PM | 22

Some additional, perhaps trivial, points about the clip..

1. The last sentence of the report: "the Commander of the IRGC Air Force said their military experts are well aware of the plane's invaluable technological info.."

2. The line in Persian on the seemingly popular 'skull flag': "We'll stamp on America." OR (word by word) "We'll put America under our foot."

3. And the writing under the other wing is the infamous punch-line by Ayatollah Khomeini, somewhat aptly chosen: "America can't do a damn thing."

Posted by: theJ | Dec 8, 2011 10:23:48 PM | 23

"Fox is also reporting that the possibility of destroying/recovering it was rejected as it might be regarded as an act of war!"

No kidding, heh?

The mind boggles what these brainiacs were like as kids: when they hit a ball over the back fence was their first instinct to go around with baseball bats and beat the neighbour's dog to death?


Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 8, 2011 10:41:05 PM | 24

Blowback @22

Further to that report, here's a sentence that just staggers the mind:
"Some reportedly argued that Iran might not even discover the missing aircraft since it crashed in a remote area of the country."

What that sentence tells you is that the Pentagon had no idea what had actually happened to that drone, because it's now obvious that it *didn't* *crash* i.e. it was brought down quite intact, and that means it was brought onto an Iranian military air base.

So those brainiacs in the Pentagon were contemplating sending in a Special-Ops Team into "a remote area", at which point they would have found themselves in a fire-fight with heavily-armed and extremely-pissed-off Revolutionary Guards.

"it was rejected as it might be regarded as an act of war!"

Man, I hope the dude who pointed that out gets a promotion with Oak Leaf Clusters, because he just proved that he was the only guy in the room who possessed A Functioning Brain.

And when it comes to the US military that is, apparently, a very rare commodity indeed.

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 8, 2011 10:59:06 PM | 25

Johnboy @25

I'm surprised the Iranians didn't put out a dummy of the drone as bait to see what turned up and then capture that.

BTW, WIRED's Danger Room is still suggesting it's fake but you should read the comments. Most people over there are in a serious state of denial about the implications.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/iran-drone-video/#disqus_thread

Posted by: blowback | Dec 9, 2011 12:03:59 AM | 26

b;
Just out of curiosity, do you like Brecht, or is it just this one song?

Posted by: RT | Dec 9, 2011 12:22:48 AM | 27

Careful measurement of Wiki's front view silhouette shows its wingspan is 7.66 x o/a height. So if it's 6ft tall then the span is 46 ft. It's higher off the ground than normal in the video. My guess, based on the size of the people near it, is that it's 5 ft tall or less which would make the wing span 38 ft, or less.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 9, 2011 12:27:56 AM | 28

lovely touch, the skulls, indeed

and i bet, right now, this flag is being sold in Tahir Square

Posted by: citizen x | Dec 9, 2011 12:38:45 AM | 29

RT, check out the 'about this site' feature under the Brecht on the homepage.

Posted by: annie | Dec 9, 2011 1:09:52 AM | 30

"BTW, WIRED's Danger Room is still suggesting it's fake but you should read the comments."

It's hilarious.

I love this bit: "But it’s a little fishy for an aircraft that would have fallen hundreds or thousands of feet to appear without so much as a scratch on it, as this one does."

This expert still hasn't noticed that the Iranians n.e.v.e.r. claimed that they shot this thing out of the sky.

Not once.
Not ever.

And if that is the case (and it is) then this aircraft very probably never "fell" so much as an inch before the Iranians finally managed to coax/trick/coerce it into landing on one of their airstrips.

There is a serious lack of logic amongst these so-called experts i.e. just because the AMERICANS lost control of this drone does not necessarily mean that this drone went "out of control".

Those. Are. Two. Different. Concepts.

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 9, 2011 1:39:54 AM | 31

There is a precedent, according to Paul Tritton's biography of John Montagu of Beaulieu.

In 1916, the Royal Flying Corps' first Fe2d fighter, equipped with the new Rolls-Royce Eagle engine, set off for St Omer. Three hours later, it landed behind enemy lines in Lille instead. The inexperienced pilot, who had never flown an Fe2d before, had never been overseas, and wasn't sure of the way. So the Germans published a full technical description while it was still top secret in England.

Curzon languidly responded that experienced pilots were much better employed on the battlefield, and that pilots on both sides were always losing their way; it was one of the risks of aerial war.

Posted by: Bob Jackson | Dec 9, 2011 4:24:43 AM | 32

@Horsewisperer - judging by the split on the leading edge of the port wing at the wing root, this was a VERY hard landing.

The had to take the wings off to transport the bird and to get it into the gym. It is a big bird after all. Then they put it on tables and taped over the splits.

@RT - Just out of curiosity, do you like Brecht, or is it just this one song?

I love to read Brecht and watch his plays on stage. His love poems are pretty good too :-).

---
A tweet by Gareth that went down my throat like warm milk with honey:

@GarethPorter GarethPorter
Blogger Moon of Alabama again shows up big media, calling Iranian drone takedown accurately 3 days ago. #Iran #drone moonofalabama.org/2011/12/how-ir…

---
And this funny bit from a comment at a military discussion board:

Stages of grief:

Denial - that is not our drone
Anger - how dare they touch our drone
Bargaining - please give it back we will give you a PC
Depression - so sad, why send drones? lets go home ....
Acceptance - that is our drone, we shall make it better and arm it next time


Posted by: b | Dec 9, 2011 4:28:45 AM | 33

thanks no14 Jeremiah Cornelius for the link

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/

yeah, blowback from stuxnet.

better not mess with a people who developed mathematics when Europe thought the earth was flat:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Khayy%C3%A1m

Posted by: somebody | Dec 9, 2011 4:34:39 AM | 34

There is an angle here that no one has yet considered. The drone was purposely left vulnerable because of internal sabotage within the military ranks. There is an "Old Guard" in the military who no doubt have a turf dispute with this latest technology. Fighter Pilots are an Elite Guard within the military....many of them being multi-generational, and this technology is increasingly rendering them, and their status, obsolete.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 9, 2011 8:52:33 AM | 35

I am sure you are right about the old guard stuff Morocco Bama, the rest of your theory however is logically flawed as those people would not know how to leave the drone vulnerable ...

Posted by: somebody | Dec 9, 2011 9:09:50 AM | 36

those people would not know how to leave the drone vulnerable ...

They don't have to know so long as they can direct a handful who do. Once again, I have to laugh at the ubiquity of the Incompetence Theory. Whatever your cause is, it certainly does it a disservice to underestimate the overall success of Power. Sure, there are mistakes and blunders, but when you place those mistakes and blunders in their proper context and juxtapose them with all the successes, official, but mostly unofficial, it's clear that Power is succeeding....meaning it's concentrating, consolidating and gaining in magnitude.

Of course, I fully expect Claudio to step in and erect a Strawman in my place and assert that I am saying any effort against Power is futile, when, in fact, I am saying no such thing. My point is that if you want to have any chance of success in rolling back Power, and ultimately eliminating it, you must recognize it for what it is, and accept its prodigious presence in our lives. That doesn't equate to respect or submission.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 9, 2011 9:30:07 AM | 37

you read my mind, MB :-)

the fact remains that there's a State, Iran, who scored a point against the Empire; so no further centralization of Power on this front, for now

Posted by: claudio | Dec 9, 2011 10:11:15 AM | 38

This a huge propaganda victory for Iran.
from Iran news sources:
Tehran, Dec 9, IRNA – Tehran’s substitute Friday prayers leader Hojjatoleslam Kazem Sediqi says capturing Americans’ surveillance drone is among most honorable recent events.

TEHRAN – The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations has called on the UN to condemn U.S. aggressive moves against the Islamic Republic including the recent violation of Iranian airspace by a U.S. spy drone and adopt “clear and effective measures” to end such “dangerous and unlawful acts.”
TEHRAN – Iranian MP Esmaeil Kowsari warns that if the United States’ spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces in eastern country had been a jet fighter, conditions in the region would have changed by now. . . said in that case, Iran would have pounded all U.S. military bases across the world.
TEHRAN – An Iranian Foreign Ministry official says the United States’ military bases in Afghanistan are a serious threat to security in the region, the Fars News Agency reported on Friday.
TEHRAN - An informed source in the Iranian military has said that Russian and Chinese officials have asked for permission to inspect the U.S. spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces, Nasimonline.ir reported on Wednesday.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 9, 2011 11:12:49 AM | 39

perhaps IRGC infiltrated the nevada base and it was their man on the inside who helped deliver the birdie!!! go psy ops go...

Posted by: Rd. | Dec 9, 2011 11:22:44 AM | 40

What we know for a fact is that the drone landed. Question is, why did it land? b has made a case for the explantion that the Iranians took control and landed it. Another possible explanation could be there was a software glitch that essentially gave the drone the command to land. This put the drone in the lap of the Iranians. Just looking at the video the two military types in it don't look like the sharpest pencils in the box. Yes there are some very intelligent Iranians but I didn't know those types went for the military. Mostly they belong to the Green Party and loath this Iranian government more than anything.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 9, 2011 11:35:47 AM | 41

might have even been a woman, Khalid Shah

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_Iran

Posted by: somebody | Dec 9, 2011 11:47:55 AM | 42

it is acceptance mood now

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1209/Downed-US-drone-How-Iran-caught-the-beast/%28page%29/3

Posted by: somebody | Dec 9, 2011 12:09:19 PM | 43

Khalid

Yes, that's a possibility - BUT, you have to consider that if the drone was in the Wild East of Iran, you're talking about a very large, very sparseley populated area, and accidentally stumbling across the damned thing is a low probability event.

Posted by: dan | Dec 9, 2011 12:13:23 PM | 44

Somebody,
The educated ones, men or women, are by and large outside this present government. If you read some of the news, the government in Iran has come down very hard on the University students and teachers so it doesn't seem thatthe same would then join the military (or indeed be allowed to join the military) . All I am saying is that we do not have any evidence to support the Iranians brought this drone down and there can be other explanations. Just to clarify, I do love Iran and wish it dearly that Iran does become a success but they are still struggling a bit over there. Most Iranians I talk to are not to happy about the regime there and consider it very oppressive. I do not support the dirty war that US is waging against Iran nor would I paint Ahmedinijad et. al. with a singular brush of 'all bad' as some Green Party types do, but we cannot be blind to the huge problems of the current regime in Iran.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 9, 2011 12:13:30 PM | 45

So the story went from "Drone lost over West Afghanistan" to "We regularly send these drone into Iranian airspace to spy on them, where one fell into the hands of the Iranian, and yes it was our drone."

http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2011/12/spinning-the-us-drone-captured-by-iran-story.html

Posted by: Cyrus | Dec 9, 2011 12:16:30 PM | 46

Khalid Shah, i guess as anywhere, the US e.g., you do not have to be part of the military to work on weapons or counterweapons systems, you need a security clearance. Military people use those systems they do not design them.
And I guess like in all authoritarian systems or dictatorships career people or anybody who is just interested in science (and they are the best, because they spend all their time on it) make their compromises or just do not care about politics, in my country there are seamless career biographies of people going from fascism to communism, or from fascism to US democracy e.g. like this guy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun

Posted by: somebody | Dec 9, 2011 1:19:45 PM | 47

@Cyrus - yes the spinning is ridiculous. Loren Thompsen, the Lockheed lobbyist, went from "can't have happened", to "accident", to "self destructed", to "has no intelligence value", to "Iranians can not reverse engineer". This in a matter of four days.

@Khalid - the lower rank IRCG guy in the video seemed pretty smart to me. The older one was uninterested in the TV posing. But he made the impression of a battle experienced veteran. That is at least to me.
Just to say: People who manage to acquire an intact U.S. drone of this caliber can nor be really just dumb asses. There likely went a lot of thought and planing into achieving this.

Posted by: b | Dec 9, 2011 1:38:03 PM | 48

b., that's an awesome tweet.

Posted by: annie | Dec 9, 2011 2:15:21 PM | 49

There's the bogus "everybody is stupid but us" factor which is a feature of American Exceptionalism.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 9, 2011 2:31:16 PM | 50

A captured drone, you say? No problem. They'll just correct the problem and replace it with a hundred new and improved versions on China's, and the U.S. Taxpayers', dime. So, who does Claudio's point go to in that case?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 9, 2011 2:42:06 PM | 51

b,

Extremely unlikely that they fucked with the wings. With the Iranians' likely eye on the secondary market, that would be a bad move.

You don't just take your freshly boosted Ferrari right down to the chop shop in Alhambra or Colton before you have tried to get a bid or two for the ride in cherry condition.

Neither would the Iranians.

Posted by: Brice T. | Dec 9, 2011 3:00:03 PM | 52

@ b 33

Well deserved kudos, bravo :)

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 9, 2011 3:10:44 PM | 53

@Khalid Shah, Dec 9, 2011 11:35:47 AM comment #41

"What we know for a fact is that the drone landed. Question is, why did it land? b has made a case for the explantion that the Iranians took control and landed it. Another possible explanation could be there was a software glitch that essentially gave the drone the command to land."

Khalid, I am not an expert on drone design (and I doubt that you are either), but based on the little that I am familiar with programming, the chances of a state-of-art military gadget's software to "glitch" in exactly a way that it would get it to land by itself without any external control and command *seems* remote to me.
Of course, I dont know anything about the drone systems, maybe these drones do have software that would give them the ability to land "automatically". But you have to then explain what were the controllers doing?? So the contact was "accidentally" lost with ZERO intervention from the Iranians and then again the bird instead of doing the preprogrammed thing (ie. returning to the base following a predetermined route), as a result of a "software glitch" again with ZERO Iranian intervention decided to self-land in the middle of the desert without any significant damage to its body?

And then some Iranian peasants stumbled on the thing again "accidentally" and reported it to IRGC, so that they could come and pick it up and brag about it?

Well I would say that if you really believe that that is a very plausible theory then you must be a devout believer of god and his devine intervention and that your god must be completely on the side of that nasty Ahmadinejad and must be working against the beloved "Greens"!!

Of course I know nothing about drone designs, and maybe they have a system which can explain all this, but in the absence of any such knowledge rather than resorting to 'god' and 'devine intervention', I would take Iranian claim that they ambushed the thing electronically and brought it down as the more plausible option.


"Just looking at the video the two military types in it don't look like the sharpest pencils in the box."

Hmmmm....and how did you exactly figure that out? just by looking at them? Do you believe that intelligence is written on people's faces or uniforms? So for example Gen. Petraus has intelligence written all over his face, but just by looking at the facial features of the Iranian officers you can see that they are obviously imbeciles?

"Yes there are some very intelligent Iranians but I didn't know those types went for the military. Mostly they belong to the Green Party and loath this Iranian government more than anything."

That is nonsense. Right now you are talking to an Iranian who has a normal IQ and has a decent education and loaths "greens" FAR MORE than he dislikes the Iranian government.
It is not about "educated Iranians" being "Green". It is about education having become a class based privilege, and Greens being the middle/upper-middle class have an EXTREMELY unfair advantage in affording good education. It is not their "education" which makes them loath the Iranian government, IT IS THEIR CLASS INTERESTS!

NEVER FORGET, those Iranians that you become exposed to are the ones who could *afford* to come to the west and as such they are all part of a small privileged middle/upper-middle class and they talk based on their own class interests and not necessarily the reality!

Posted by: pirouz_2 (RT) | Dec 9, 2011 3:32:39 PM | 54

Another possible explanation could be there was a software glitch that essentially gave the drone the command to land. This put the drone in the lap of the Iranians.

No, a "software glitch" would not cause the drone to land. And even if it did, what is the likelihood that it lands on a paved runway w/o incident, all by chance?

Posted by: Q49 | Dec 9, 2011 3:41:48 PM | 55

@Khalid Shah,
I'm an Iranian living in Iran and I'm really satisfied with our country. and most of the people here are just like me.
Of course there are people who are against the government but they're not the majority.

Posted by: Ali | Dec 9, 2011 3:46:20 PM | 56

"software glitch", yeh sure. Those indoctrinated to believe Iran is a bunch of fanatical, suicidal, backwards, mooslim terr'sts are not going to accept demonstrable evidence, logic or rational argument. Just not, its too confronting.

The likes of which still refuse to accept the comprehensive defeat of the might of the IDF by the Hezbollah resistance in the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Nor do they accept the roll-up of Mossad and CIA assets, ~190 between Lebanon and Iran over the last two years ...

Self defeating, ingrained arrogance and ubermensh mindset, which is 'exploitable'.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 9, 2011 3:55:58 PM | 57

Well, Im proud of our electronic warfare too.

I was thinking of, what if Iran did violate the US airspace with a top-secret drone?
act of war of course.

-some guy from Iran

Posted by: Mehrdad | Dec 9, 2011 4:01:34 PM | 58

outraged

the implied & overt racism toward arabs & persians still surprises me, some people's sense of history must be a duration of a week

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 9, 2011 4:14:06 PM | 59

@ remembereringgiap

Indeed my friend. Checkout other link just posted.

Yet, as we both know, the destruction, refutation, revision, denial of memory, history, the 'record' is an active policy, its necessary for empires actions, survival ... so 1984.

Only 'Towelheads' and 'Sandniggers', heh ? yet, who has the 'INTACT' drone :) 'Still Steel'

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 9, 2011 4:30:01 PM | 60

I quite agree with the Iranians here, that this is a great success for Iran. And this before the official opening of hostilities. Both Israel and the US are going to have to rethink their electronics.

You may say they've done it once, they don't have access to discover a re-think. I wouldn't be so sure. Iranians are intelligent people. There are many Iranians in the US; some don't want their country of origin turned into a nuclear fireball, even if they hate the mullah's regime.

So are we going to see concentration camps in the US for Iranians?

Posted by: alexno | Dec 9, 2011 5:10:04 PM | 61

b @ 33.

Re: "judging by the split on the leading edge of the port wing at the wing root, this was a VERY hard landing."

They had to take the wings off to transport the bird and to get it into the gym. It is a big bird after all. Then they put it on tables and taped over the splits.

I admit it. I was guessing. Here's my thinking.

Someone in Iran decided that the best way to maximise the propaganda value of the drone would be to show it off looking as pristine as possible. Hastily removing the wings, and damaging them in the process, to fit through the doors of the only building available, or to fit on the only (tiny?) truck available to the Govt of Iran seems at odds with this aim.

The above, and the fact that they concealed the bottom of it - and were careful not to let us see the underside of the wings in the video - led me to conclude that the drone effectively crash-landed. There are 101 possible reasons for that outcome - none of which reflect badly on the Iranians.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 9, 2011 7:01:08 PM | 62

Been away a bit and cannot respond to everyone except to say don't bite my finger, look where it is pointing to. First of all we are all to an extent speculating. I am quite ok if what b proposes turns out to be right. More power to all Iranians of all 'colors'.

To respond to the question about how can a s/w glitch do this? After a electronic circuit is designed it is usually put through some level of RFI/EMI testing to see what happens if the circuit is hit with a burst of noise. Usually the results are not predictable leading to redesign/putting protective enclosures etc. to avoid the malfunctions. But there is not way to test against all types of pulses. There are standards which try to cover the greatest range. It is possible that the new Russian jamming device that b mentioned in the previous blog somehow led the drone to want to land (perhaps the navigational system got messed up). It still means the Iranians do have radars that can detect these drones. However in this case you can bet that US will try to get its hands on the Russian device and 'harden' its drones against them. The Iranians though may still be able to shoot them down if they can detect them. More importantly, this violation of their airspace is not something that can be easily papered over. I cannot see any country except real close US allies (UK, Israel, maybe France) going along with this kind of violation.

A few years ago someone posted an excellent item on MOA about Iranian politics. To paraphrase what she wrote 'there are three groups in Iran conservatives, moderates and liberals and each are about 1/3rd of the population. The problem is that each thinks it is the majority'. I am not an Iranian but have had good Iranian friends from each group over the past 30 years here. I wish Iran to be successful whatever its political color.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 9, 2011 7:20:52 PM | 63

I wish Iran to be successful whatever its political color

Can certainly concur with that, well said :)

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 9, 2011 7:33:37 PM | 64

on the bourgeois media they are going through all of the stages of grief at once - it's a pleasure to watch, like watching an economist from the university of chicago, or a 'journalist' from news ltd talking about ethics

one cretin so hurt by iranian ingenuity sd it was lucky that iran was more or less stone age, they seem to have as great difficulty with their rhetoric as they do with what the tougher call reality

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 9, 2011 8:46:29 PM | 65

@ 28.
Well, so much for "carefully measuring" Wiki's unofficial silhouettes. According to various reports, the Iranians have measured their prize and say it's 15ft long, 85ft wide and the fuselage is 3ft thick.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 9, 2011 9:59:21 PM | 66

Egads. How many theories are you folks gonna to bandy here?

The Iranians have our drone. Fact. The rest is just intellectual masturbation. Fun, but foggy. Found myself ho-humming my way through the thread.

But gotta healthy chuckle out of Khalid's not so thinly veiled contempt for the Iranian military....

"Just looking at the video the two military types in it don't look like the sharpest pencils in the box."

"Just lookin'", eh? Now there's a novel way of gauging someone's intellect! Gotta assume he's pretty good at assaying the brain capacity of blond females too.

I've got a neighbor with a fondness for polka dot bowties, baby blue slacks, and white loafers. Perhaps Khalid will fill me in on the guy's IQ, as I've often wondered what he's thinkin'. Or, more accurately, IF he's thinking. How 'bout it, Khalid??? Whataya figure this guy's IQ is?

So, the heathen's got their mitts on one of our terminator spy bots. You figure its just a coinkydink that our media is now waving the five years missing former FBI agent in our faces with that oh-so-aint-it-gut-wrenching video of him pleading for rescue?

Nasty heathens, ain't they got no soul??? We better bomb 'em before they activate them killer terrist cells they've got planted under our beds and bridges. And now, they got suitcase nukes AND drones!!!!


Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 9, 2011 10:50:50 PM | 67

what, no mentions of down with America b? it's obvious whose 'side' you are on.

Posted by: Yoni Ra | Dec 9, 2011 10:57:17 PM | 68

Uh oh, "b". Yoni just dropped the 'ol "anti-american bomb" on ya.

Quick, tell him you're all for heaping naked muslims in a pile, and waterboardin' the b'jesus out of em!

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 9, 2011 11:06:32 PM | 69

POA,
Read what people write and you would be less PO'd. Decrypting takes a huge amount of time and effort no matter who does it. It just seems there may be a simpler explanation for how the plane landed. Also, You need to quit playing with yourself it is effecting your IQ for sure.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 9, 2011 11:11:46 PM | 70

To respond to the question about how can a s/w glitch do this? After a electronic circuit is designed it is usually put through some level of RFI/EMI testing to see what happens if the circuit is hit with a burst of noise. Usually the results are not predictable leading to redesign/putting protective enclosures etc. to avoid the malfunctions. But there is not way to test against all types of pulses.

Yes, you are correct here, but an EMI "pulse" would first knock out the antennas. This means lost comm and lost GPS. In the case of lost comm / gps, the plane would be programmed to do "something." I don't know what the plane would have been programmed to do in this case (fly home as best they could on IMUs? Ditch itself?) but one thing it would NOT do is land itself w/o incident on a paved runway.

Posted by: Q49 | Dec 9, 2011 11:36:49 PM | 71

Q49,
In a EMI/RFI event the processor no longer executes predictably. It isn't just that the program counter jumps, RAM variables may be corrupted as well as instruction and data caches. Sometimes pulling the RESET pin can work but not always. I certainly can see that as possibly causing the drone to land, not that you could do that repeatably. Next time it may just keep flying straight till it runs out of fuel; no way to predict behavior from a RFI event.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 9, 2011 11:57:08 PM | 72

"Also, You need to quit playing with yourself it is effecting your IQ for sure"


See?? You ain't so smart after all! Why, any idiot knows that its your eyesight that goes, and not your brain cells.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 10, 2011 8:15:28 AM | 73

@Hoarsewhisperer - A bit further on the wings.

The RQ-170 does not do long range flying, like from the U.S. to Afghanistan. It gets transported by air. It is VERY likely that the wings can be detached for that.It would otherwise be too big to fit even into a C-5 Galaxy air transport plane. When you look at this picture you can see where that wing was detached and the tape the Iranians have laid over the split. That is likely the original tape.

All U.S. stealth planes use special tape over any joint and the lips of service access panels to prevent radar reflection from such joints. (see here: "Parts of the B-2, such as the leading edge, are also covered in advanced radio-absorbent paint and tape.") That is one reason why servicing stealth jets is extremely expensive.

When the Iranians got the drone they ripped that tape off and detached the wings to transport it into the gym.

As for damage, there is too little for an uncontrolled landing and I do not believe that these drones can land by themselves. When losing communication for a longer period they do RTB - Return To Base. The Iranians landed it. They may have had to do a wheels up landing. May! Or they landed it wheels down on a simple road instead of an airport (I haven't found an airport around the place where they said it came down) and it veered off. It was the first time they were flying this thingy so a little accident does not say much.

They got the drone and it is mostly intact. That is a masterpiece they have done there. Even the Air Force Times now writes that.

Posted by: b | Dec 10, 2011 9:50:40 AM | 74

I wish Iran to be successful whatever its political color

Can certainly concur with that, well said :)

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 9, 2011 7:33:37 PM | 64

Hell yeah, I third that. All Hail the Mullahs!! Hopefully Iran defeats, and takes over the U.S., and the West, and the world even, and women, children and homosexuals are put back in their place where they belong. I'm sick and tired of standing by and witnessing women lasciviously fondling and preparing phallic fruits & vegetables such as Zucchini and Bananas. Such behavior is pornographic and disgraceful and must be punished.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 10, 2011 10:18:08 AM | 75

MB, women can't buy bananas in Iran?

Posted by: claudio | Dec 10, 2011 10:49:15 AM | 76

@ MB

Hopefully Iran defeats, and takes over the U.S., and the West, and the world even ...

Why ? To what purpose ? Have you been taking your medication ? ;)

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 10, 2011 11:10:03 AM | 77

MB, now I understand your pessimism after the drone's capture: after all, you belong in the vast camp of those who say that imperialism is bad, but the alternatives are worse;

as I (and many others) already said: the Iranians will decide how they want to live; and the absence of an imperialist menace will make their research more open

Posted by: claudio | Dec 10, 2011 11:16:40 AM | 78

MB, women can't buy bananas in Iran?

Hell if I know, but if they can't buy bananas, or curling irons, I'm alright with it because I wish Iran success whatever its political color.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 10, 2011 11:18:24 AM | 79

MB, you think they are leading some kind of sub-human existence in Iran? hell, I already feel the white man's burden pushing me to action ...

Posted by: claudio | Dec 10, 2011 11:24:22 AM | 80

"When the Iranians got the drone they ripped that tape off and detached the wings to transport it into the gym"

Who knew the sanctions had so limited the heathen's access to large buildings! This going to play hell with their Elephant Rearing Programs (ERP).

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 10, 2011 11:38:26 AM | 81

@Q49 - Thanks for correcting me on the loitering.

Could you answer a question I have?

My theory is that the Iranians cut the drones satellite control channel and took it over through the line-of-sight control channel. While the sat channel is likely well encrypted, I wonder if the line-of-sight channel has the same strong encryption. As it usually would be only used for landing and starting it would be only used in friendly territory. It would also need as little latency as possible.

Those two thoughts led me to believe that the line-of-sight channel has likely less strong encryption than the sat channel. Could that be correct?

Posted by: b | Dec 10, 2011 11:43:19 AM | 82

@ Claudio

Yes, yes, the compulsion to save them from themselves is becoming overwhelming, I feel it, I feel it too !

Of course, *ahem*, in assisting them to achieve true sovereign democracy to enable aligning all policies, laws, institutions, etc, to the benefit of our national interests, we'll appoint a small compromised compliant elite to assist with exploiting thier nations resources, in its entirety, for their own good, of course.

Ah, such burden to have to save all those 'others' from themselves and all in the name of 'Democracy, Freedom, Liberty, Justice and Human Rights', etc.

(Please note: To avoid painful migraines and other possible adverse side effects from Doublespeak™, please ensure you take your daily dose of Doublethink™, re-assured that you are making a valuable contribution in the 'War on Terra'™ and, oh, Have a Nice Day! )

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 10, 2011 11:57:39 AM | 83

"Of course, *ahem*, in assisting them to achieve true sovereign democracy to enable aligning all policies, laws, institutions, etc, to the benefit of our national interests, we'll appoint a small compromised compliant elite to assist with exploiting thier nations resources, in its entirety, for their own good, of course"

Contact a Chalabi, they have perfected the fine art of breeding such fine human specimens. If there is a Chalabi fetus shortage, you might wanna try the Karzai clan.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 10, 2011 12:08:09 PM | 84

Bombin' 'brown' people ...

George Carlin Talks War And American Politics(Youtube)

George Carlin brings TRUTH to the masses using comedy. Rest in Peace George.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 10, 2011 12:27:27 PM | 85

MB, you think they are leading some kind of sub-human existence in Iran?

Who are "they?" I think many people everywhere are leading sub-human existences, including the West, and in a very real sense, especially the West, but you digress, claudio. The assertion was "whatever its political color." I interpret that to mean without condition, so anything goes.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 10, 2011 2:04:08 PM | 86

MB - yes, of course, "whatever its political color", "without conditions"; I don't believe in the existence of "absolute evil" to fight at all costs, nor in the existence of "good governments" that generously undertake the task of liberating others, nor in the existence of "models" so good that it's worthwhile to use force to export them

I believe in the positive effects that may come from a debate freed from the menace of external aggression, in the force of example, in solidarity towards refugees, etc

Posted by: claudio | Dec 10, 2011 2:37:35 PM | 87

Interesting analysis
http://aviationintel.com/?p=4322

Posted by: Paul | Dec 10, 2011 2:40:43 PM | 88

The Dead Drone sketch

The Central Intelligence Agency's drone that went down in Iran is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its industrial-military complex maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace in a Shi'ite paradise! Its metabolic processes are now history, it's shuffled off its mortal coil ... but don't tell the CIA.


Posted by: Outraged | Dec 10, 2011 10:11:19 PM | 89

b @ 74.

We could agree to disagree, b.
I like my theory better. But that doesn't make either theory wrong - yet.
It's not a life-or-death issue for me and I'm happy for everyone's ideas to compete until the Iranians settle it by telling us really happened.

But if you insist...

If the RQ's wings are routinely detachable then that makes the damage hard to excuse. I assume Iran has expert aircraft maintenance engineers but I reckon you and/or I would be able to figure out how to take detachable wings off a plane without damaging them.
....

I've no quibbles with your 'stealth' minutiae.
....

"too little damage for an uncontrolled landing"
I wouldn't call it an uncontrolled landing. Even though it was imperfect it surpassed the Aviator's Benchmark (Any landing you can walk away from is a good one).
I assume it landed in wheels-up mode. When you do that the plane suffers damage - hence the term crash-landing.
The fact that the wing tips are intact suggests that whoever landed it had sufficient control to ensure it was flat and level when it hit the ground.

We agree that (on the day, at least) the drone couldn't land itself. That raises all sorts of questions for the pilot:
1. What is its stall speed?
2. Can I work the brakes, throttle and flaps?
3. Can I shut the engine down?
4. Can I / should I lower the wheels?

[One way to land a plane is to crank out the flaps, throttle back, bring it in slow and (keeping it low) wait for enough speed to wash off for it to settle (or stall) and touch down.}

The Iranian pilot would know if he could control the throttle and flaps but he couldn't test the brakes or engine shut-down and had to guess the stall speed. (An imminent stall is easier to detect from inside a plane than from the ground).

He could have spent some time making low and slow passes along the runway until he thought he could stall it onto the ground. But my guess is that, not knowing its stall speed or characteristics, he opted to fly it into the (well-drenched) runway. A wheels-up fly-in has several advantages over stalling it in:

* plenty of speed and thus good control of pitch, roll, and with that plane - yaw.
* Better control over impact force than stalling it from a height which would allow some wiggle room if something unexpected happened.
* the pilot can decide which bits hit the ground first.
* the pilot can decide where it touches down, aka near a fire crew.
* no brakes required.

The only real disadvantage is the need (with a low-wing glider-type design) to come in fairly hard to make certain it hits the ground rather than riding the ground effect cushion and losing control.
....

I think that's how they did it. I'm not at all fond of the "they messed up the wings taking them off" theory to explain the (apparent) damage.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 11, 2011 9:22:03 AM | 90

Khalid Shah: "Read what people write and you would be less PO'd." "Also, You need to quit playing with yourself it is effecting your IQ for sure"

POA: "...Why, any idiot knows that its your eyesight that goes, and not your brain cells."

I find it gratifying when I piss off the 'right' people, POA. I suspect you do too, judging by the humour you bring to your exchanges. Please keep up your fine work. heh heh

Posted by: arthurdecco | Dec 11, 2011 4:09:00 PM | 91

"I suspect you do too, judging by the humour you bring to your exchanges. Please keep up your fine work. heh heh"

Well, it got me kicked off of Mondowiess, I suspect with no small amount of coaxing by Annie, whose nether region I musta accidentally filled with a corn cob.

Interesting, really, as she had a real problem with me calling our current crop of DC sluts "sluts". Seemed to think I was sexist for using such a callous term. Went so far to accuse me of sullying the good name of the age old proffession of prostitution. "Prostitutes are people too", she admonished me. Of course, I already knew this, having once had a girlfriend that worked the "Luxette" in Wallace, Idaho. That was before they shut down the Bunker Hill mine, and had house doctors and real nice clean proffessional gals working the two brothels. 'Course, when they flooded the mine, it pretty well destroyed the economy in Wallace, and these nice clean proffessional gals were replaced with a rotating mix of, well, you know....

Truth is, I got no problem with the term "slut" when describing a worm of a human being. Heck, some of the slimiest sluts I've known have been men-folk. Theres more than one way to sell yourself despicably, unclean, and without any moral considerations. It ain't WHAT you're selling that makes you a "slut". Its how you're selling it that earns you the title. And, unfortunately, the brothel in DC is fresh outta nice clean proffessionals selling a quality service for a fair price. And in my book, that makes them "sluts".

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 11, 2011 7:31:25 PM | 92

POA, sorry, what you say is interesting but I'm with annie; sluts only rent their bodies to other human beings, they don't sell their minds to corporations and their conscience to the devil

Posted by: claudio | Dec 11, 2011 8:14:27 PM | 93

"they don't sell ...... their conscience to the devil"

Hmmmm....ever had an STD? Its not a healthy conscience that gives ya that gift, I assure you.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 11, 2011 8:28:16 PM | 94

"My theory is that the Iranians cut the drones satellite control channel and took it over through the line-of-sight control channel."

b most of what you write is very insightful and thought provoking so just want to make a small suggestion. What you are stating is a hypothesis not a theory. Often people mix the two. Theory is when a hypothesis gets well established.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 12, 2011 2:35:05 AM | 95

The CSM's Scott Petersen has a new report how the Iranians (may) have gotten the drone: Exclusive: Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer

In short:
- they disabled the satellite communication link
- they spoofed GPS signals to make the drone believe it was landing in Afghanistan

Not sure that I believe that, there are open questions, but it has some plausibility.

Posted by: b | Dec 15, 2011 12:28:31 PM | 96

so GPS spoofing means it's possible to send a missile back home? !!!

Posted by: claudio | Dec 15, 2011 1:20:13 PM | 97

@claudio - a missile is unlikely to make 180 degree turns. But one can divert it from its target.

Posted by: b | Dec 15, 2011 1:47:07 PM | 98

The article on Christian Science Monitor quotes an Iranian engineer, with background detail from others.

Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off communications links of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, says the engineer, who works for one of many Iranian military and civilian teams currently trying to unravel the drone’s stealth and intelligence secrets, and who could not be named for his safety.

Using knowledge gleaned from previous downed American drones and a technique proudly claimed by Iranian commanders in September, the Iranian specialists then reconfigured the drone's GPS coordinates to make it land in Iran at what the drone thought was its actual home base in Afghanistan.

"The GPS navigation is the weakest point," the Iranian engineer told the Monitor, giving the most detailed description yet published of Iran's "electronic ambush" of the highly classified US drone. "By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain."

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, says the engineer.
...
“We have a project on hand that is one step ahead of jamming, meaning ‘deception’ of the aggressive systems,” said Gholizadeh, such that “we can define our own desired information for it so the path of the missile would change to our desired destination.”
...
“A more pernicious attack involves feeding the GPS receiver fake GPS signals so that it believes it is located somewhere in space and time that it is not,” reads the Los Alamos report. “In a sophisticated spoofing attack, the adversary would send a false signal reporting the moving target’s true position and then gradually walk the target to a false position.”
...
The Iranian engineer explains why [the undercarriage was damaged]: "If you look at the location where we made it land and the bird's home base, they both have [almost] the same altitude," says the Iranian engineer. "There was a problem [of a few meters] with the exact altitude so the bird's underbelly was damaged in landing; that's why it was covered in the broadcast footage."

Posted by: jonku | Dec 15, 2011 3:11:17 PM | 99

Re: b @ 96.

Yes, I've read the CSM article and I'm not sure I believe it either. On reflection, the only substantive difference between your theory and mine at #90 is that I think it landed harder than you do. I still (today) prefer your theory that Iran jammed the GPS signal and exploited a line-of-sight channel to hijack it (if that's wrong please feel free to correct me).

I really don't buy the 'slight difference in altitude' story.
Whoever (or whatever) landed that drone knew PRECICELY where it was relative to the ground when it landed. There's no damage to the bottom of the nose (angle of approach too steep) OR damage to the wing-tips (too much flair (nose up).

Assuming the McClatchy story was published in good faith, I assume that the Iranians don't want to advertise the fact that they can control a drone remotely. So, as of today, we're speculating in a vacuum or an info blackout.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 15, 2011 11:29:03 PM | 100

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