Thursday, December 15, 2011

Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer

In an exclusive interview, an engineer working to unlock the secrets of the captured RQ-170 Sentinel says they exploited a known vulnerability and tricked the US drone into landing in Iran.

By Scott Peterson, Staff writer, Payam Faramarzi*, Correspondent / December 15, 2011

Istanbul, Turkey

Iran guided the CIA's "lost" stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone's systems inside Iran.

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.

Story continues


Bob said...

Off topic:

The picture of that dog makes me jump every time I sign on.

Perhaps replacing it with a photo of Michelle Bachmann can help... her eyes are not nearly as startling (maybe).

texlahoma said...

Bob - Maybe I can find a picture of Michelle Bachmann wearing sunglasses.

billy pilgrim said...

remember when sheriff bart brought mongo the candy gram in blazing saddles. we might have the same thing going on here.

texlahoma said...

Billy - Could be, too bad Mel Brooks isn't the president.

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