Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Man Accused of Selling US Military Drones On EBay

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the was-that-wrong? dept.

Security 182

garymortimer writes "47-year-old Henson Chua is in a bit of trouble for trying to sell a RQ-11B 'Raven' Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on eBay. From the article: 'A federal grand jury in Tampa returned an indictment charging Henson Chua, 47, of Manilla, Philippines, with violations of the Arms Export Control Act and smuggling, following an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. If convicted on all counts, Chua faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.'" I'm kicking myself for missing this auction.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654294)

He just had some US military drones laying around, huh. We all need to clean out the old garage from time to time.

Re:Hmm.. (3, Funny)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654418)

By the way, anyone interested in buying a B2 bomber? Really cheap, got a few from an old friend of mine, I can't fly them all at once anyway so I might as well make someone else happy with them. Just drop me a line.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654516)

I need a stealth bomber - for duck hunting.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654598)

Does having to file a flight plan with the FAA before use count as an infringement on your right to bear arms?

Re:Hmm.. (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655000)

No, but preventing me from bombing that bear to take his arms would.

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35655150)

There is a bear in the woods.
For some people, the bear is easy to see.
Others don't see it at all.
Some people say the bear is tame.
Others say it's vicious and dangerous.
Since no one can really be sure who's right,
Isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear?
If there is a bear...

Re:Hmm.. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655848)

Does having to file a flight plan with the FAA before use count as an infringement on your right to bear arms?

You're free to carry your stealth bomber anywhere you like without filing a flight plan. Otherwise, it's the arms bearing you - which is not covered under the constitution.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654604)

that will teach that dog

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Viperpete (1261530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655324)

I need a stealth bomber - for DUCK HUNTing.

How else are you going to get that damn snickering dog?

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654372)

How about possession of stolen property?

Re:What? (1)

pyrosine (1787666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655278)

That would mean admitting they can be stolen

I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

entertainment (749138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654390)

Isn't this pretty much a remote control airplane?

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (3, Informative)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654548)

Yes. With a camera.

And a 6 mile range. And a ceiling of 15,000 feet. And speed up to 60 mph.

And autonomous GPS navigation.

Probably you didn't have a plane like that when you were a kid.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (2)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654756)

Camera? Yeah, cameras in RC planes have been done since at least the 80s, complete with video transmission back (often, but not always, in the amateur UHF bands)

6 mile range? Yes, if left alone in stable flight most gas RC planes can cover 6 miles before running out of gas. Controlling it would be rather difficult since you couldn't see it unless you were doing something like driving along following it.

Ceiling of 15k ft? Probably possible, but not likely from a control standpoint - again, you can't see it.

Speed up to 60 mph? Easily surpassed, and has been for several decades.

Autonomous navigation is the only "new" feature these things have over RC planes people have been playing with since the 80s (and probably before, but my experience with RC planes only goes back to the mid 80s). None of the rest of your list is anything new, or unique.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654840)

Dude. Stop trying to compare your hobby store crap to a UAV. You sound like a fucking idiot.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (2)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654960)

I might point out that there are hobbyists who have spent more on their R/C aircraft than the military spent on this UAV. It's not too unreasonable to compare them.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655194)

Agreed.

And if more people asked for this, then naturally the cost of a UAV wold go down, and the goals for a new UAV that could fly above them would be established.

I for one, want the ability to tail any of my daughters on their dates. *Grin*

- Dan.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655502)

Actually you can get a fairly cheap UAV, by retrofitting an existing plane, with a camera and transmitter.

The hard part is long range control, as while the transmitters are good for a mile or so being able to control a target at that distance with mark one eyeballs is a tad difficult.

that is why you need two camera's, one in the belly, and one in the "cockpit"

In 1994 i know of one guy who modified an arcade game case(the kind were you sat inside of it) to be the on the ground cockpit for his RC plane. it was cool back then.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655600)

Acquire a gumstix and mate this with cell-based internet connectivity, stream control on one account, video on another. Maybe add another channel for weapons deployent.

  All problems solved. This isn't the rocket science you think it is.

- Dan.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655838)

Acquire a gumstix and mate this with cell-based internet connectivity, stream control on one account, video on another. Maybe add another channel for weapons deployent.

  All problems solved. This isn't the rocket science you think it is.

- Dan.

Then discover that the network coverage is missing over that one area you just flew through. So much for those $$$'s that just crashed into that CIA listening post.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655638)

you do realize that other than the amount of money they have managed to spend on UAV's in 10 years there is nothing really amazing about them?

sure your average RC plane can't carry a hellfire missle .. but it didn't need to .. and most of the UAV's can't.. only select ones.

given the opportunity the RC crowd could, in my mind, have done just as well if not better than what we have now for a lot less.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655130)

Well, with fpv/rpv, it's possible now to go past the 6 mile range and perhap the ceiling (?).

First person view has made leaps and bounds the last 20 years in RC planes.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655378)

mile range? Yes, if left alone in stable flight most gas RC planes can cover 6 miles before running out of gas. Controlling it would be rather difficult since you couldn't see it unless you were doing something like driving along following it.

It's actually an operational radius of 6 miles, so you're almost halfway there. While the RC is running out of gas and falling into enemy hands with it's software and sensor packages the UAV is turning around, flying all the way back to base and landing safely with minimal reserves ;)

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655432)

Nuclear bomb with a cowboy to ride it down while swinging his hat around, standard equipment on RC's since WWII.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655526)

Not really that new.... Home made UAV is easy and have been built by amateurs for years now....

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9980 [sparkfun.com] this works FANTASTIC as a UAV brains. spookly good.

Plus you can get a drone model that looks 100% identical to the Military version. Give a guy a couple grand and he can easily build a real UAV with PTZ camera, control with GPS waypoints and why build custom RF for comms... use a frigging cellphone, I could talk to the UAV via cellular communication channels across the country.

http://diydrones.com/ [diydrones.com] is a good start for info as well...

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655350)

Yes. With a camera.

And a 6 mile range. And a ceiling of 15,000 feet. And speed up to 60 mph.

And autonomous GPS navigation.

Probably you didn't have a plane like that when you were a kid

In other words a model plane with a cell phone and some control logic. Sorry this all would be very impressive if it were like 20 years ago.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655574)

The speed of 60mph isn't that spectacular. IIRC, (it's been a long time since I read the book I'm getting this from) there are R/C slope soarers (gliders that are designed to fly in ridge lift rather than thermals) that can hit 200-250 mph.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655820)

What's puzzling is he's charged against importing arms...

But this type of unmanned vehicle doesn't seem to contain any weaponry or armament whatsoever......

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (3, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654574)

It's a remote control plane with a secure two-way communications channel. It's that communications channel that they don't want falling into the wrong hands.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654846)

Yes but, also (most likely), the camera and sensor package. RC planes have carried cameras before, but not of the quality level of what's installed on moder UAVs. Also, they probably have other nice toys like high-end night vision and an advanced software package to tie it all together.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655590)

You can get RC planes with nicer cameras than what the military uses. They want durability not absolute best picture possible.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655144)

Why would losing the drone compromise the secure communications channel? The drone should have a unique private key, as should HQ.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

Viperpete (1261530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655562)

Why would losing the drone compromise the secure communications channel? The drone should have a unique private key, as should HQ.

Makes no difference when the enemy is radio jamming. It would be much easier to build/modify a radio transmitter to jam signals and make the UAV unable to be remotely controlled for an area than it would be to actually intercept and take control of the UAV. I would suggest that the primary concern is that the UAVs transceiver can be reverse engineered for the frequency range/channelization and then create a device that would allow for easy end-user jamming.

When I worked on radio systems in the Navy we had some radio modules that would also allow for frequency hopping to avoid potential frequency jamming, combined with usage of encryption and daily keys made for a pretty effective system.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655630)

Should. Yes.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655208)

    I'd be pretty sure the gov't would have provisions in place in case a transceiver did fall into the wrong hands. Military aircraft, vehicles, and troops, can all be subject to capture by an enemy. At that point, there is a good chance that any specialized equipment would be captured (along with their weapons, MREs, and fuel in the vehicle).

    It's probably not a question of who may see it, but how much it cost. The gov't (and therefore we) pay a small fortune for every one of these innovative new devices deployed. It's definitely worth while for the gov't to want to go collect a stolen unit, rather than just ordering a new one. According to the USAF, that item cost approximately $173,000 [af.mil] .

    I do wonder if it was a legitimate item, or a home made knockoff that looked close enough, and the title was of the item, that the gov't believed it was a legitimate item. That still counts as far as their case goes. If you have what you say is an illegal item, and you try to sell it as that illegal item, then it's an illegal item.

    If I went on Craigslist, and offered up 10 kilos of heroin, and had photos of what looked like 10 kilos of heroin, I'd be going to jail for selling 10 kilos of heroin, and anything that may have been involved in my procurement of said item.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655670)

It's probably not a question of who may see it, but how much it cost. The gov't (and therefore we) pay a small fortune for every one of these innovative new devices deployed. It's definitely worth while for the gov't to want to go collect a stolen unit, rather than just ordering a new one. According to the USAF, that item cost approximately $173,000 [af.mil] .

I'm interested. How much is parts, how much is labor and how much is kickback?

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

linux_geek_germany (1079711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655744)

If I went on Craigslist, and offered up 10 kilos of heroin, and had photos of what looked like 10 kilos of heroin, I'd be going to jail for selling 10 kilos of heroin, and anything that may have been involved in my procurement of said item.

Is this really the case in the US of A? Sounds pretty wrong to me, although that naturally does not mean that it isn't true.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35655224)

I don't understand what should be special in communications for a device like this. We have huge, light weight hard drives these days. You just have to fill a 100 gigabytes of hard drive space with random data and copy that data onto another hard drive. Xor your transmissions against the random data on one end and xor it again against the matching random data at the other end. Voila, one time pad. 100 gigabytes worth of theoretically perfect, unbreakable encryption. It's not secret in any way, everyone in cryptography knows the "secret".

Just in case, you'd want to combine it with another form of encryption. Once you ran through the 100 gigabytes, you'd want to refresh your 100 gigabytes of random data. But the drone has to return to some sort of base eventually, and you refresh it then.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654640)

"A single Raven costs about $35,000 and the total system costs $250,000. The RQ-11B Raven UAV weighs about 1.9 kg (4.2 lb), has a flight endurance of 60–90 minutes and an effective operational radius of approximately 10 km (6.2 miles)."

Either military contractors are doing what they do best, or this particular model airplane has some kind of fancy tech tricks up its sleeve...

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654824)

The specs don't look too special. The price must be for the hard case or something. With FPV systems, the range of model airplanes isn't limited to the ca. 2000ft anymore where the pilot can still see the plane from the ground. From there it's just a matter of packing enough lipos. Search Youtube for "fpv flight".

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654906)

Just a guess but:

- all carbon fiber
- ruggedized, mil-spec, gold contact connectors
- ultra-high end camera system with custom x-y actuator and super zoom
- latest generation night vision technology
- super advanced radio tech with top-secret communications protocol/encryption
- advanced, custom, guidance software
- advanced, custom, camera software such as computer vision for identifying targets, etc.

Re:I had one of these when I was a kid! (1)

lysdexia (897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655332)

You left out "Eagle-Eez" and "SteadiHand" and "DynaZoom".

I guess he never saw the movie.... (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654442)

Everyone knows that you find your buyers with cryptic messages using odd media

Got it where (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654456)

How did he acquire it in the first place, second How much did it sell for?

Re:Got it where (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654694)

How much did it sell for?

$13000, according to Reuters [reuters.com] .

Re:Got it where (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654762)

Is this all for 100% with proof, or is this media making a case out of something that was supposed to resemble the drone, and the auctioneer used that name to get attention to his homebrew drone...???

Re:Got it where (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35655706)

A bargain! According to the Wikipedia article about the Raven UAV [wikipedia.org] , they cost $35000 each. More details [globalsecurity.org] , including a sample image of the view from the UAV.

What if it's your own drone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654488)

That's funny, I was threatened with a crminial case when I tried to sell a similar product that I designed, built and coded myself... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wJHj3hOcuI

Re:What if it's your own drone? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654646)

By who and what charge?

Re:What if it's your own drone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654672)

by some guy from school who for some reason got incredibly pissed that the primary author of that project wasn't a US citizen. this was in texas in 2007 (see video date). End result, I graduated and took the whole thing apart, then released it as freeware without the projectile drop calculation part.

Re:What if it's your own drone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654924)

Basically I was threatened with deportation, inability to graduate and a number of other nebulous things unless I let the one member of that team who was a US citizen put his name in first on the thesis. The guy did almost nothing other than a powerpoint presentation and a little bit of electronics work during the 9 months it took to put the thing together.

Re:What if it's your own drone? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655100)

In other words, you likely committed a crime and got upset someone threatened to hold you accountable. Oh no...what a topsy tervy world we live in.

Re:What if it's your own drone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35655360)

So claiming to be the team leader for a drone project if you out of four people did 60% of the work is a crime? The guy who ended up figuring as team leader even agreed that it was BS, but at that point we wanted to graduate. Again, the project is something we did from scratch from building the airframe to coding the firmware and console. I recommend you reread the previous posts.

Re:What if it's your own drone? (1)

lysdexia (897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655430)

Precisely! Smart capable foreigners should *expect* to be blackmailed by machiavellian natives! /sargasm

I have a better idea (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654506)

The US military should sell online drone control sessions on XBox live, they could easily ringfence the middle east and put a few thousand drones in the air. They could call the game "death from above", "warfare for all" or simply "foreign policy".

Seriously, war is not cheap so why not put the worlds gamers to good use and collect the revenue?

Re:I have a better idea (2)

joelsherrill (132624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654648)

Ender's Game?

Re:I have a better idea (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655556)

Ender's Game?

More like the movie "Toys" In fact, that was the first time I'd ever seen this idea...

Re:I have a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654682)

Heh, that's a kinda interesting idea. The military would never do something directly like that (WAY too much security risk), but I COULD see an enterprising individual setting up a mercenary company whose whole business is drones for hire. Build a team of crack gamers, get them security clearances, and build a software package to allow the client (i.e. the US military) to tie into your C&C system for the drones, for things like strike authorization and confirmation.

Re:I have a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654792)

wasn't this the plot of the movie "Toys?"

Re:I have a better idea (2)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654970)

Seriously, war is not cheap so why not put the worlds gamers to good use and collect the revenue?

Here's a reason; griefers.

Re:I have a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35655672)

Griefers wouldn't dare when they'll be tracked down and assraped in prison.

Re:I have a better idea (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655756)

because there's always that idiot that thinks it's funny to dump the payload on the own troops for kicks. And that could maybe be a tad bit of a PR problem in this case.

wtf (0)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654518)

So... let me get this straight...

he could go to jail for 20 years.... for selling a fucking remote controlled air plane. Oh wait, its a remote controlled air plane with long range and a nice built in camera? Ooooh what a dastardly man! How horrible of him! Oh my god! How dare he sell....a fucking remote controlled air plane.

Re:wtf (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654550)

Anybody possessing one could reverse engineer the command and control system for the drone and come up with a way of jamming it, rendering all the other drones still in possession of the military useless. So yes, it IS a big fucking deal.

Re:wtf (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654660)

I don't need remote control airplane to figure out how to jam it. Just need a powerful radio that jams everything, in Military designated freqs. Targeting freqs are easier said than done. Also, I'll bet that the drones are outfitted with autonomous mode GPS guidance that if they lose contact, the go to a predesignated area for retrieval.

Getting your hands on one of these would likely be of limited benefit.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654740)

suppose after i reverse engineered the c&c for the drones, and i see a drop flying around in my neighborhood, i might decide to hijack communications with said drone, and tell it to fly straight down.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654934)

Each drone uses military encrypted frequencies, depending on the key encryption length and algorithm used thats millions of possible combinations to descramble the comms. So I say to you good luck with hijacking the comms. SAT comms it probably harder to jamm over ground-to-air transmissions.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654870)

Don't know much about military freqs. do we?

Re:wtf (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654752)

Wouldn't that be security through obscurity? I'm pretty sure that's verboten in /. groupthink.

Re:wtf (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654774)

It's a radio signal. Jamming is not hard or complicated. However, being able to get into the command and control system and doing things like feeding it false information or other such things... yeah, I guess a bit of a big deal.

But in general, the stuff to make a UAV of even your own design is also "bad." It sort of reminds me of the encryption export laws. (Are they still in effect?) You know the one I am talking about? The one that says "128 bit encryption is for use within the US only and cannot be exported?"

I think it's great that we have laws which are in place to guard our technical superiority, but there's a problem -- the US has been losing its technical superiority for decades and no one is keeping our schools from training foreign minds and no one seems to be stopping this advanced gear from being manufactured in other countries.

Off the shelf today, you can get a lot of sophisticated and tiny gear to replicate this technology and if you try to sell it, some men in dark suits will likely appear. Our laws and enforcement are not in touch with what is already freely available on the world market. (Heh... I am remembering the time I put a wireless TV transmitter on a remote control car and drove it around the house while viewing the output on the big screen TV... the dog got really upset with this car and was barking at it... Jack Russell terrier.. looked HUGE on the TV though.)

Re:wtf (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654854)

If the signals don't have either a LOS type signaling or some type of cryptographic based frequency hoping, I would be very surprised. And even if they didn't, I believe they can still run off way points if command and control is lost. I'm not saying I don't think this guy should be prosecuted, but I would hope that simply capturing a drone wouldn't let someone figure out how to stop them all. That would be REALLY bad design.

Re:wtf (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655106)

Anybody possessing one could reverse engineer the command and control system for the drone and come up with a way of jamming it, rendering all the other drones still in possession of the military useless. So yes, it IS a big fucking deal.

The problem is foreign enemy governments have been entirely unsuccessful given both multiple samples and human intelligence. So using the word "anybody" is a little inaccurate, when you take "the world" and subtract out everything 3rd world that leaves some friendly nations and china / russia. And there is no guarantee they would succeed, just guarantee that multiple less capable groups have failed.

Its not really a big deal at all.

Re:wtf (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654670)

Its only illegal arms import, export and smuggling.

Re:wtf (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654776)

If he had been dealing with a reputable US manufacturer of semi-automatic weapons he would have been fine. But selling fancy RC aircraft of dubious provenance is clearly beyond the pale.

Re:wtf (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654988)

Exactly, small arms really don't have technologies that are controlled.

Re:wtf (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655402)

I've got $50 that says 95% of the components in the Raven were made in China

Re:wtf (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655582)

I will take that bet, they were all made in Taiwan. Oh wait..

Re:wtf (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654984)

*sigh* Such ignorant people, who live in such tiny worlds. What can be done against such limited intellects?

Yes, believe it or not, there are actual LAWS pertaining to the import and export of MILITARY GOODS. What, it's a remote control airplane? Harmless! Well, the European Union is way ahead of you. The EU defines "dual use goods" as products and technologies normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications. For example, Christian fundamentalists could get ahold of the 1918 flu virus under the guise of peaceful research, and then release the disease, "Twelve Monkeys" style, as revenge for too many gays in society. Dual use regulations keep good people safe from these dangerous extremists.

Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (4, Interesting)

ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654662)

... these UAVs are becoming more and more like amateur model aircraft. In this current climate (fear, terror, control), I believe the model aircraft crowd are therefore likely to be increasingly regulated. It has happened already to the high power rocketry crowd (they pushed back - with some limited success).

An anecdote: a few years ago, a group flew a model airplane across the Atlantic (link [bbc.co.uk] ). I found this quite interesting and told a few friends. One reacted with horror, postulating that terrorists would be able to use such a thing to deliver all sorts of nasty. No counterargument convinced him of the absurdity of his fear.

Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (3, Interesting)

Layer 3 Ninja (862455) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655036)

There is at least some support in the Senate for the RC guys with bill S.223. There is a section which will prevent the FAA from regulating model aircraft given the meet a certain criteria: (1) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into FAA plans and policies,, including this section, the Administrator shall not promulgate any rules or regulations regarding model aircraft or aircraft being developed as model aircraft if such aircraft is-- (A) flown strictly for recreational, sport, competition, or academic purposes; (B) operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization; and (C) limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program currently administered by a community-based organization. (2) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.--For purposes of this subsection, the term ``model aircraft'' means a nonhuman-carrying (unmanned) radio-controlled aircraft capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere, navigating the airspace and flown within visual line-of-sight of the operator for the exclusive and intended use for sport, recreation, competition, or academic purposes."

Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (1)

Gmerk (592097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655082)

... and model RC aircraft are very closely mimicking the UAV's. PROJET RQ-11 Raven Brushless Remote Control RC UAV Predator/Drone Airplane ARF Kit [nitroplanes.com]

Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (1)

ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655258)

In form, yes. But I have seen repeatedly model aircraft designers using techniques & technology that only sometime later appeared (publicly, at least) on military UAVs. Also, only relatively recently have military UAVs become so small - falling into the realm of model aircraft. And now that the difference is blurring, at what point will a model airplane be considered an ITAR "munition"?

Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655198)

An anecdote: a few years ago, a group flew a model airplane across the Atlantic (link [bbc.co.uk]). I found this quite interesting and told a few friends. One reacted with horror, postulating that terrorists would be able to use such a thing to deliver all sorts of nasty. No counterargument convinced him of the absurdity of his fear.

What is the absurdity of the fear that a model airplane that can fly thousands of miles by itself could be used to deliver something hazardous?

The only thing missing is a hazardous payload that is concentrated enough to be carried on an ultralight, GPS guided model plane, then it just needs to be programmed to drop the cargo on large sporting event, concert, etc. Make it a night drop and there's not much that can be done to stop it since the tiny plane would have a tiny radar cross section and be hard to spot on radar, and though FLIR can pick it up, someone would have to be watching for it.

The best thing (from the terrorists point of view) is that it doesn't have to kill or injure significant numbers of people - it just needs a noticeable effect, then the fact that the substance was delivered from potentially thousands of miles away is more than enough even to instill fear and panic.

Though the military weapons vendors would make a fortune, selling miniature FLIR enabled Phalanx guns [wikipedia.org] to every stadium in the country. And then there would be the bootleg flak jacket vendors in the parking lot selling protection from Phalanx fallout.

Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655442)

Actually, the absurdity is that these are fairly complex undertakings. These types of hobbies - or at least those that do it successfully - are generally for pretty smart folk, and there are precious few of those in these terrorist organizations (they do exist, but in very, very small numbers). There are far cheaper ways of working terror, and at the end of the day, everybody has a limited budget.

I happen to have played with both pyrotechnics (I was a PGI member for many years) and I now do high power rocketry. It's fun stuff, and it's far less usable to terrorists than a tank full of gasoline, but up until recently you could fill up a 300 gallon tank on the back of a pickup at any local gas station, but you couldn't store 64 grams of slow burning model rocket propellant in your garage without a BATFE inspected, plate steel, double hasp explosives magazine and a Low Explosives Users Permit. You're allowed to have 25lbs of black powder in your basement, but you still can't purchase a 0.5gram engine igniter without the aforementioned permit.

Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (4, Insightful)

ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655476)

What is the absurdity of the fear that a model airplane that can fly thousands of miles by itself could be used to deliver something hazardous?

It is akin to worrying about general aviation (all those "uncontrolled" airplanes in the sky - in the hands of terrorists, etc.) while ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room - Ryder trucks. Only more so.

Further, as has been demonstrated repeatedly, a car bomb is a horrifyingly effective terrorist weapon (cheap, fast, inconspicuous, readily available, large payload). As an example, the use of just one such device ended up with US forces leaving Beirut.

Thus far, no model airplanes have been used in any terrorist attack (long distance or otherwise). If we are to worry about model airplane terrorist attacks, then we are no longer able to prioritize and are fearful to the point of collapse.

So you can't buy a plane? Buy a ship instead! (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654768)

One 19,000 tonne aircraft carrier for sale [edisposals.com] , one careful owner, only used to drive to church on sundays and launch fearsome aircraft into the skies to intimidate the enemy and drink their blood [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:So you can't buy a plane? Buy a ship instead! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654884)

I love the way the that the Ark Royal disposal web site [edisposals.com] has the item listed as "Availability: In stock"

Re:So you can't buy a plane? Buy a ship instead! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655612)

And an "Add to Wish list" button

Re:So you can't buy a plane? Buy a ship instead! (1)

Tigger's Pet (130655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35654888)

Unfortunately they have already decommissioned the aircraft;-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8158181/HMS-Ark-Royal-Their-final-mission.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Maybe that's why the guy bought the Raven - it's all he could afford if he wanted to get Ark Royal as well.

entrapment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35654786)

Just to be clear, a man outside of US jurisdiction owns something it was legal to own where he was, wants to sell it (possibly violating eBay TOS, but still outside US jurisdiction) and does so. The law he broke was in importing it to the US and attempting to export it again, and from the sound of it, I can easily imagine he only did this because the undercover agents encouraged him (probably in the guise of delivery). I thought law enforcement officers enticing someone to break a law they otherwise showed no sign of wanting to break was entrapment.

Re:entrapment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35655184)

Just to be clear, since when is being in Los Angeles outside of US jurisdiction?

What a waste of ICE's time! (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655046)

Piddling around with this irrelevant stuff takes ICE away from the far greater threat to the US of A: IP theft!

/snark

Re:What a waste of ICE's time! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655182)

Piddling around with this irrelevant stuff takes ICE away from the far greater threat to the US of A: IP theft!>/quote>

Govetnments multitask. Deal with it.

Illegal in what country?! (0)

Shuntros (1059306) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655256)

If he lives in the Philippines he may not have broken any laws whatsoever. The way America thinks they can apply their laws to anyone on earth, regardless of location or citizenship is simply preposterous.

Re:Illegal in what country?! (1)

Shuntros (1059306) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655276)

Ok, having RTFA again I see he was actually in the USA when he was arrested. In that case, good luck fella; you'll need it.

Pffft (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655414)

A Raven? Pfffft, they are doing an EOL no-replace on the MQ-1 Predators, and I'd much rather have one of those.

So let me guess... (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655456)

they nabbed him as he was getting off the Jetway? Maybe just for grins an agent holding up a sign saying "Prison."

A+++++++ (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655458)

Would definitely buy again.

Package Deal? (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35655498)

Did it come as a package deal along with his daughter's virginity?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?