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Air Force Says Iran Didn't Down Drone

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the pilot-error dept.

The Military 248

First time accepted submitter QQBoss writes "The Air Force is not saying what caused the RQ-170 UAV to crash in Iran, but that Iran's claim to have forced it down is erroneous. The drone didn't come down and land gently as Iran had suggested it did. At least Iran got a good photo op, though the more interesting question is what technology will they be able to glean from what they did capture."

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248 comments

Forget PR (4, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786289)

Did USAF figured out how/why the drone got captured?

Re:Forget PR (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786315)

If they did, I very much doubt they will say anything about it.

Re:Forget PR (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786341)

Hi. We're the US Airforce.

We run a secret intelligence agency, and have an acknowledged PsyOp division, aimed at the general US population.

Please believe us. We are not lying to you, about this. Really.

Re:Forget PR (3, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786481)

We run a secret intelligence agency, and have an acknowledged PsyOp division, aimed at the general US population.

Please believe us. We are not lying to you, about this. Really.

Yes, because obviously what the American public believes has a direct effect on the technical capabilities of the Iranian government in a sort of "mind over matter" fashion. Most people don't make that connection.

Re:Forget PR (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786571)

Yeah, I also laughed out loud when I saw the page in the link.

I do find it credible that Iran didn't use technical wizardry to down the drone. As a former Air Force electronic warfare technician, I'm guessing that Iran just flooded the area with high-amplitude noise jamming to trigger an automatic landing routine. My knowledge is not current, but much military technology nowadays uses 2 other (3-letter-acronym) types of satellite-based navigation technology with better precision than that of GPS.

There's a reason for classifying technology, and it's not to hide super-secret features. It's to prevent the enemy from knowing what a piece of shit the technology is.

But then again, seeing how the Joint Strike fighter and the F-22 both turned out to be flimsy, overpriced pieces of shit, It would not surprise me to see hurried Tijuana design practices in the systems integration. The last good American aircraft was the ultra-versatile, ultra-reliable F-15 airframe, which is still being adapted for use. I know because I worked on 'em, back in the days when their main antenna array was mechanically scanned :)

Re:Forget PR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786827)

Let's see here... First one of your sentences:

I do find it credible that Iran didn't use technical wizardry to down the drone.

Sounds nice. Ok. Now your next sentence:

As a former Air Force electronic warfare technician, I'm guessing that Iran just flooded the area with high-amplitude noise jamming to trigger an automatic landing routine.

Why are you contradicting yourself?

Knowing what countermeasure to use and how to exploit an automatic routine isn't technical wizardry? Are you suggesting they used a gigantic net suspended in mid-air to catch the drone? No? Then they did defeat it using technical measures ... sometimes called technical "wizardry".

They used technology to exploit a technological flaw. What more do you want?

There's a reason for classifying technology, and it's not to hide super-secret features. It's to prevent the enemy from knowing what a piece of shit the technology is.

Yeah that's called "security through obscurity" and no self-respecting security relies on it.

Re:Forget PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786871)

I'm not the gp, but original speculation was that they somehow took over the drone.

Sounds to me like he is saying precisely that flooding the area with noise is kind of like the caveman bat, not high-tech wizardry.

Re:Forget PR (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786919)

Why are you contradicting yourself?

Noise jamming is not "technical wizardry." It is the crudest form of electronic jamming known to man. It's the "hail mary" of the jamming world. If Iran used it, they did so because their technology is primitive, not because they had inside information.

Yeah that's called "security through obscurity" and no self-respecting security relies on it.

Tell that to the Serbians who shot down [wikipedia.org] an American stealth fighter using primitive sixties-era Russian technology.

Re:Forget PR (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786983)

As a former Air Force electronic warfare technician, I'm guessing that Iran just flooded the area with high-amplitude noise jamming to trigger an automatic landing routine.

Why are you contradicting yourself?

Knowing what countermeasure to use and how to exploit an automatic routine isn't technical wizardry?

Erm, that's not a contradiction at all. It's like lockpicking vs. smashing the door. There isn't a lot of subtlety involved (or required) to jam such a signal. Drones require shitloads of bandwidth to operate (i read something like 500mbit/s) and if he was still alive, I would suggest asking Claude Shannon about difficulty of jamming high-bandwidth signals (almost none). A bit of noise and the whole thing breaks down.

Re:Forget PR (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787211)

Well don't forget it was only a couple of years ago (late 09 i believe) that Intel quit making the 386 because the military was still buying and that thing is so old they haven't been found even in goodwill stores in nearly a decade, hell I throw away machines a dozen times more powerful than that old POS chip.

Despite all the talk of the "high tech military' by the time the gear gets through committees and sub-committees and 14 levels of bureaucratic BS the stuff is pretty damned ancient. I don't know what is sadder, how much really old crap our soldiers are dealing with or how the really old crap is better than the new stuff, like the F35 which is up to what? A billion plus just to fix the bugs they've found so far? Frankly i think we'd be better off having some more F-15s and F-18s cranked out even though those are old designs.

but if this program is anything like what we've seen with the fighters the only thing the program is really good at is cost overruns and the thing probably has so many bugs you could knock it down with a hacked iPhone. How much you wanna bet the Chinese will end up with it like they did the stealth chopper we lost going after Bin Laden and the F 117 they had dug up in Kosovo? Maybe they can figure out how to make it at a decent price and have it actually functional.

Re:Forget PR (4, Informative)

Raindog (13847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787417)

IIRC there was a version of the 386 that was hardened against high levels of radiation...hence their being used quite a bit in space (and presumably nuclear) applications, which would go along way towards explaining such a thing.

Re:Forget PR (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786623)

Who can forget how this all started out.
It not ours we didn't lose one.
We lost one but that's not it.

We want it back.
Now it's, 'er' yeah, it's our's but they didn't bring it down, we lost it all on our own (somehow that's meant to be better.

Of course the web site source is going wildly counter Republican dogma about the dangerous Iranians "the Iranians are constantly lying about their military exploits, especially when it comes to developing new weapons and technology. This is apparently done mainly for domestic propaganda as satellite photos never show more than a few prototypes of these wonder-weapons". So no great threat after all.

The real battle at the moment is between the US and Israel. The US administration is sick of Israel forcing into losing situations, losing billions and losing soldiers and knows Israel is actively trying to goad Iran into attacking Israel.

Likely Russia and China will not be too impressed in Israel launches an airstrike even a series of airstrikes on Iran in an attempt to precipitate a conflict and draw in the US at the US's expense.

Likely this will result in both China and Russia supply Iran with the latest weapons to test them against US hardware.

Re:Forget PR (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786737)

The US administration is sick of Israel forcing into losing situations

Holy shit, it's November?! When I went to sleep last night, it was still January.

What the fuck. And Ron Paul was elected, to boot? God damn, the Mayans were right. So long, decrepit old society. Liberty's all up in this bitch now.

Oh, wait, I see. It's still January; Ron Paul has not been elected; and you merely have no clue whatsoever about how the US government feels about Israel.

Here's a tip: The President and Congress often fight over who gets to eat Israel's poop, because how can they say they love Israel if they can't even eat Israel's poop?

Re:Forget PR (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786855)

Meh. When AIPAC was confronted about their seemingly disproportionate influence on congress, they simply said, "Yeah, we lobby, but we're no different than any other big corporation that lobbies."

The disproportionate influence of Hollywood on the future of America's internet freedom is a good example.

But Ethanol-fueled, the Jews run both AIPAC and Hollywood!

Well, that may or may not be true, but you must admit that the 'States, Israel, and other nations all have common interests in the Middle-east. Nobody likes the Muslims. And the Islamic nations happen to be sitting on tremendous deposits of natural resources. You can hate Israel all you want, and they are dicks, but they still have (with loud minority exceptions) the most gender-neutral society in the entire world.

As for the Islamic nations, well, they as a whole don't garner a whole lot of worldwide sympathy for their child brides, honor killings and maimings of women(woman was raped - KILL HER!), worship of an ominous black cube, suicide bombings, and the list goes on and on.

And things are gonna stay that way as long as people can point to the Muslim nations and say, "well, at least we're not like that!.

Re:Forget PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787047)

Nice doubles, bro. But check mine.

Re:Forget PR (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786843)

We run a secret intelligence agency, and have an acknowledged PsyOp division, aimed at the general US population.

Incidentally, that would be admitting to breaking the law, because the US military is bound by law to aim psyops solely at foreign populations.

Re:Forget PR (4, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786947)

Do you remember when laws used to be enforced? That seemed to work OK. I wonder why they stopped?

Re:Forget PR (4, Funny)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787031)

It was damaging our ability to innovate.

Re:Forget PR (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787205)

Do you remember when laws used to be enforced?

No

Re:Forget PR (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787267)

Do you remember when laws used to be enforced?

You must be joking. The only time laws are enforced against the fat cats is when the fatter cats throw a baby to the wolves. If a fat cat breaks an inconvenient law, the transgression is ignored unless it's a handy sop to the peasants. If a peasant needs to be punished and there is no convenient law, charges are made up or the law creatively re-interpreted.

Anyone who reads even a little on the history of law will come to the same conclusion. Try Slaughterhouse or Dred Scott for particularly egregious examples in the fairly recent US.

Your .sig isn't much better. Anyone who thinks capitalism has ever existed probably also thinks Marxism / communism ever existed. All we have ever had is fat cats running the world. They have rough spots once in a while when the peasants surprise them (see SOPA and PIPA for the most recent example), but they get over it.

Re:Forget PR (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786423)

If they did, I very much doubt they will say anything about it.

Even if they did say anything, would anyone believe them?

Re:Forget PR (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786811)

Iran: Got you!
USAF: No you didn't!
Iran: Yes we did!
USAF: No no no! I don't like this game and I'm taking my ball home too!

Re:Forget PR (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787259)

Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
'Tis but a scratch.
A scratch? Your arm's off!
No, it isn't.
Well, what's that then?
I've had worse.
You liar!
Come on you pansy!

Re:Forget PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786441)

For all we know, they deliberately set it down in order to give the Iranians a distraction.

What was the animal which all the knights wasted their lives to chase? The White Stag?

Re:Forget PR (1)

Billlagr (931034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786651)

For all we know, they deliberately set it down in order to give the Iranians a distraction

"...so I took their plutonium and, in turn, gave them a shoddy bomb casing full of old used pinball machine parts!"

Re:Forget PR (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786769)

The government today announced that it is changing its emblem from an Eagle to a CONDOM because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance. A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed.

Re:Forget PR (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786829)

older than ARPAnet

Re:Forget PR (1)

Jesse_vd (821123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786921)

The last I heard, the Iranians claimed to have hijacked the GPS and told it to land within their borders, and the U.S. claimed it veered off-course and crashed

what they'll get.. (0)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786311)

is the same shit they could have ordered from DX.

really, that's the reason for using shit cheap drones, no big loss.

(though of course average iranian wouldn't have web access to check out dx and to order)

Re:what they'll get.. (0)

craigminah (1885846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786377)

Iran wouldn't have Internets if it wasn't for liberals (e.g. Al Gore).

Re:what they'll get.. (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786483)

They will exchange or gift it to some other nation in exchange for diplomatic relations. Namely China or Russia. Aside from the whole stealth paint technology, it provides little extra value.

Uh (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786321)

Do people expect the military to admit that their drone wasn't hacked and gently landed? Of course they're going to save face here. I don't trust their PR department any more than I trust any other PR department.

Re:Uh (2)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786673)

"Our drone was NOT hacked by the enemy, in fact no outside influence was required to cause our super-expensive, top-secret drone to crash land in enemy territory. We refuse to divulge why precisely this happened, but we can assure you that whatever happened, it was our own fault, and not the work of enemy forces. No questions please."

Way to save face...

Re:Uh (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786715)

Do people expect the military to admit that their drone wasn't hacked and gently landed? Of course they're going to save face here.

Did you read the linked article:

Then many Americans familiar with the RQ-170 carefully studied the pictures of the "captured" RQ-170 and immediately suspected something was off. For one thing, the RQ-170 shown was the right size and shape but the wrong color. Not just a different color from that seen on many photos of the RQ-170s in Afghanistan but also a color unknown in American military service. A closer examination of the Iranian RQ-170 photos indicated that the Iranians had reassembled an RQ-170 that had crashed and broken into three or more pieces.

It wasn't even the military that first noticed the paint job.
And the landing gear was always hidden by drapery.
If it landed intact why hide it?

Re:Uh (0)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786901)

If a US drone lands/fails/is zapped and crashes in your part of the world:
1) Get to the optics, control and electronics in a very fast way and get as much out as you can.
2) If a missile hits/team lands to destroy the drone, every second counts.
3) If you can keep the parts for a show and tell at a later date - use a very safe location that would be great for more PR if the US sends in a missile...
4) The gear up/down may give away details of settings used/not used. Keep the flights final settings a mystery ...
Any missing parts/cut holes may be used as PR to say its a big hoax.. so don't show too much

Re:Uh (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787295)

Aldous Huxley, let me give you and the other burgeoning terrorists some advice regarding that:

If you manage to get your grubby hands on a drone, call a buddy over to help you pull the boxes. Get one man on the front section while the other pulls the boxes from the center of gravity (near the middle of the plane).

The rule of thumb is that boxes with the widest data connectors and RF (Coaxial) connections are more valuable. The more connections the box has, the more valuable it is.

Next, strip all antennae from the plane. I can't say more about this without being taken away by a black SUV, but if something is sticking out from the airframe, it's an antenna.

Ignore the propulsion section and all electronics connected to fuel lines.

TOP SECRET: You perform a hex dump only to find Excel on Windows CE running its flight simulator.

Re:Uh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786909)

the fact is that Iran HAS the unit, even if they had to duct tape it back together. Even if it crashed, it was still close enough to Iran to land ON THEIR SIDE of the border. The thing to take as US citizens is that our military is consistently goading Iran along... Obviously the drone was violating Iran's airspace when it went down... so our government is stoking them to keep up the crazy talk.. just because they are paranoid doesn't mean our side isn't out to start shit.

Re:Uh (1)

MidGe (69308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786927)

Paint job???

The only paint job is the attempted whitewashing!

It is news to me that you can tell the original color from a photo! Calibration would be impossible, imo, even with US technology which is always "assumed", implicitly, to be superior.

Why hide it? And why would the Air Force not say how it happened, if they know? Why, indeed.

I choose not to believe everything I read, whichever side it comes from. Although, based on the record, it is hard to tell which one of the Pinocchios has the longest nose.

 

Re:Uh (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787219)

It wasn't even the military that first noticed the paint job.
And the landing gear was always hidden by drapery.
If it landed intact why hide it?

You must remember this is Iran. Although in English, the word drone is neuter, I believe that in Farsi, the word for drone is feminine, so the drone is considered female. As such it must be properly draped so as to be modest. Also, the old paint job done by the American manufacturers, in the eyes of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, made the drone look like a whore. And as far as the widely rumored Revolutionary Guards rubber tire fetish.... let's not go there. The Revolutionary Guards did what they could so that they would not have to stone the drone, although they were apparently forced to flog it.

In truth, the drone probably broke into pieces due to not executing a controlled landing on a runway. The Iranians pieced it back together and repainted it. The drapes were probably to hide further damage or missing pieces.

The only thing crazier than my joke (not the mention dangerous [cfr.org] ) is the actual government of Iran [realclearpolitics.com] .

From 2010: Iran Threatens To 'Freeze' Europe for Backing Sanctions [voiceofthecopts.org] *

The warning was issued as European leaders prepared to debate sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

"Iran sits on 50 percent of the world’s energy, and if it wants, Europe will spend the winter in the cold," Salami told Iranian troops in the city of Kerman. His speech was published by the Iranian Fars news agency.

Iran is in possession of roughly 16 percent of the world’s natural gas and is the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil. In addition, Iran borders the Strait of Hormuz (Persian Gulf), through which much of the world’s oil supply passes.

Salami also mentioned Iran’s missiles. The country has recently tested long-range missiles, and announced just weeks ago that it had launched a satellite-capable rocket.

"Our missiles are now able to target any spot which the conspirators are in," he said.

Western powers have been discussing the possibility of sanctions on Iran in the United Nations security council. Israel has lobbied for tough sanctions, while Russia and China continue to oppose harsh measures. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plans to discuss Iran’s nuclear program next week.

* A couple of years ago this story was available from more news outlets - I guess it just isn't popular to remember it.

Re:Uh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787447)

They didn't claim it landed intact.

They claimed to spoof the drone into believing it was over its home base, in which the runway was a few meters lower then at the Iranian airbase. As a result, the drone came in for a "hard landing", damaging its undercarriage because it expected the ground to be coming up in a few more meters rather then exactly when it did.

I'm not saying I believe the Iranian explanation by any means -- while I can believe them spoofing the civilian band GPS signal (those are very low power signals, which can be overpowered by a local transmitter), I find it very hard to believe the drone wouldn't be using the *encrypted* military band of GPS. They can't spoof that without access to the encryption keys (which admittedly, has been done recently by the Iranians as well).

I also find it very hard to believe the drone would fall back on civilian band GPS when the military band was unavailable, but stupider things have been done in the past. It is possible the military said "oh shit, from now on, if the military band goes unavailable, the drone self destructs instead of falling back on civvy gps" and that's why they believe its safe to fly them again, but aside from having a TS clearance, I doubt any of us will ever know the full truth in our lifetimes.

Don't trust USAF, but in this case . . . (4, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787139)

It is extremely unlikely that Iran "hacked" the drone and landed it.

You are right not to trust the US government stories. But, Iran is not especially trustworthy either.

The most likely story is: the drone lost signal, or had some sort of mechanical problem, and glided to a crash landing. Iran picked up wreckage - which was probable not that bad.

They didn't bring it down... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786327)

It's just so well made that it fell out the sky undamaged.

Drones don't "fall out of the sky" (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787127)

The drones are made to be extremely stable. They practically fly themselves.

If the engine died, it would glide to a crash landing. It would not "fall out of the sky."

SOPA (5, Funny)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786375)

They shouldn't just be able to take what they want from it. That technology is valuable IP.

This is why we need SOPA.

Re:SOPA (4, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786421)

Yeah, Lawyers vs. Mullahs.

I can only hope they annihilate each other.

Re:SOPA (5, Funny)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786565)

My god, you are a genius! We can get them to fight it out in ritual combat using swords and axes. Chris Dodd can head the US/Lawyer team, and Khamenei can head the Iran/Mullah team. If we put it on pay-per-view, we can probably pay off the US debt!

Re:SOPA (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786911)

Wait, hold on a second. I didn't sign up for this. My idea of combat involves a sharp tongue and ritual scotch highballs.

Re:SOPA (2)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786965)

The idea has been modified for the good of humanity.

Re:SOPA (1, Insightful)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786959)

I'd buy that for a dollar!

Re:SOPA (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787441)

Can the cast of Jersey Shore get in on this?

Re:SOPA (1)

aurizon (122550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786475)

Was this a plant? Give them something in a way they think they stole, to cover up the stealth viral load...

Re:SOPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786517)

>They shouldn't just be able to take what they want from it. That technology is valuable IP.
>This is why we need SOPA.

hah... wait until Irans first rating agency debuts... afterwards you will wish they had just nuked you...

Islamic Republic of Iran Software Rating Board (2)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786795)

Rated I (Imam and up). Contains Violence, Discussion of Magic, Pictures of Jewish Women, and Muslim Ankle Nudity. Online Interactions Not Rated by the IRISRB.

Re:SOPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786555)

Yes, because stopping online piracy will prevent foreign countries from stealing physical technology... (eg: an unmanned aircraft) /eyeroll

Planted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786405)

Its not only Iran that often lies. So does the US military when it suits a purpose. This story looks planted, there is no real sourcing for the information. There are possible reasons, both good and bad, why someone would want this story out there whether it is true or not.

Re:Planted (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786461)

Your comment looks planted. There are possible reasons why someone would want to say such things.

Jam (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786503)

Good Evening HBO
From Captain Midnight
$12.95/MONTH ?
No way !
[SHOWTIME/MOVIE CHANNEL BEWARE!]

Re:Jam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787147)

Why is this modded down? Anybody who knows about the original incident might find it funny.. but modding it down simply denotes that you need to hand in your geek card.

Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786549)

StrategyPage? That site is absolute trash. Link to the actual USAF press release.

Self-Destruct anyone? (5, Insightful)

mvmortier (1464377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786557)

Why doesn't the drone have a self-destruct functionality?

I mean... isn't this like the ultimate reason for that functionality? So that technology doesn't get into enemy hands? Just like spies having these suicide pills?

Oh well... seems like this one doesn't have any.

may it does or at least a suicide battery (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786605)

may it does or at least a suicide battery

Re:may it does or at least a suicide battery (5, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786609)

Sony and Chevy are both competing for the new self-destruct battery contract.

Re:may it does or at least a suicide battery (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786763)

Sony and Chevy are both competing for the new self-destruct battery contract.

I suspect that Sony actually provided the special self-destructing battery in that drone, and that battery failed to self-destruct.

or they copied capcom and the battery kills the co (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786781)

or they copied capcom and the battery kills the code / fpga config.

Self-destruct (2)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786635)

At least your post had a self-destruct. Now I can't understand it at all.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786631)

It does. At least all evidence points to it. After all, a few months ago a drone was nearly blown up when they accidentally pressed the spacebar. And I think there was some drone in 1999 which was accidentally blown up too because of a similar glitch.

However, if Iran was jamming the signal and there was no way to get commands to it, a failsafe of landing is usually much better than a faildeadly of exploding. Especially when you are dealing with millions of dollars. Saying a drone got hijacked/malfunctioned/etc. and fell into enemy hands is a lot better than saying, yeah, we just blew up a drone that cost us $5 million to build.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787077)

What are the odds that Iran is actually going to give it back, let alone in one piece?

Blowing it up wouldn't have actually cost any more than letting them shred it when they were done going over it with a fine toothed comb.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786643)

Bingo! - except you can't say this one didn't have any.

TFA's case is that this was a crashed drone; why it got re-painted the wrong color in the pics.

If you're going to bondo for the photo-session, there's no reason you can't also bondo the damage from the self-destruction of the important bits.

Given the extensive standard-procedure self-destruction built into any other flying intelligence equipment, it's nonsensical to think these drones don't have it. Just don't expect it to evaporate the whole vehicle -- that stuff adds weight. There will just be enough to chemically burn the really important parts. This drone likely had some scorch marks before the re-paint.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786645)

It depends on what you mean by "self-destruct".

A good "zeroize" will clear most of the really sensitive secrets from modern military hardware, and that functionality doesn't require special shipping and handling which make the stuff which goes "boom!" such a pain in the ass to deal with. You've also got the fact that the "boom!" often doesn't destroy the equipment as well as you might think (datapoint: go look at how much of the triggering electronics is typically recovered from an airline bombing - and that's stuff right up against the explosive charge itself.)

From the stuff I've occasionally seen, most fielded military gear is classed as a "high risk" design, and doesn't incorporate the really clever stuff anyway (I've also had a senior former NSA employee say the same thing to me directly). I'd be very surprised if there was much really clever stuff in the RQ-170 to discover.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (3, Interesting)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786719)

I would imagine one could politically argue that putting explosives on an unmanned aircraft is just a convoluted way of making a missile, the use of which would be an act of war. Furthermore, I'm sure the designers made them exceptionally difficult to reverse engineer, and there are probably digital and perhaps even chemical self-destruct mechanisms that aren't as flashy nor leave as much visible external evidence. For all we know, Iran got a warped airframe with a bunch of melted circuit boards and oxidized stealth paint.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786823)

If it was hacked than the self-destruction wouldn't work.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (1)

Alastor187 (593341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786865)

Why doesn't the drone have a self-destruct functionality?

I mean... isn't this like the ultimate reason for that functionality? So that technology doesn't get into enemy hands? Just like spies having these suicide pills?

Oh well... seems like this one doesn't have any.

It is likely that self-destruct functionality depends on the technology that is employed in the drones. Most sensitive electronics can be zeroized in some fashion to protect cyrpto keys without loss of the hardware. In some cases destructive zeroization is required, but another poster mentioned accidental activation of self-destruct systems is a reality so it needs to be considered with care where either loss of life/injury or expensive hardware costs could occur.

In the case of an unmanned vehicle it seems like the self-destruct mechanisms become far more complex if the autonomous systems have to determine when to destroy the vehicle or specific hardware. Assuming that in this case the drone was no longer in contact with the Operator how does it know that it is enemy hands? How does one ensure that the vehicle never gets confused and self-destructs during normal operation or in a friendly hanger?

I am sure extensive trade studies and have been done on this specific topic, but I have never seen real world technical problems and solutions documented anywhere. Would be interested if anyone has links to any technical information.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787235)

Should not be that hard to do that. Make a self-destruct mechanism that kicks in within 5 minutes of landing, unless the ground personnel enter the correct security code on ground. You probably do not need an explosion or anything like that, just erase the firmware, crypto-keys, and data.

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (1)

Pennidren (1211474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786961)

Are you really that stupid? We don't want our self-destruct tech falling into enemy hands!

Re:Self-Destruct anyone? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787041)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Belgian_MiG-23_crash [wikipedia.org]
Drone glides/fails into home/school/hospital/nursing home and ... crash or .....?
You can say it just had optics ect. and its sort of ok.
Traces of explosives found is less good.

Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (3, Insightful)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786585)

Imagine if this was a U2 or similar piloted vehicle instead of a drone. We'd be preparing the bombers right now, along with special congressional resolutions condemning the Iraqis to death for "capturing" one of "our boys." Meanwhile the Iraqi government would be parading him all over Tehran, mostly for the western media to slobber over.

Instead we get a few jokes on Leno and the Daily Show, and a lot of diplomatic posturing.

No doubt we're going to war with Iran no matter what the American people want, but at least not over a spyplane (for a change).

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786627)

:%s/iraq/iran/g

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (2)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786701)

Whoops! Iran, Iraq... My brain knows the difference, but my fingers don't.

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787257)

As long as you don't call Iranians "Arabs", I think most of us would get a grip.

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787419)

:%s/iraq/iran/g

Iran, Iraq, what the hell's the difference?

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786765)

Whether or not the US goes to war is not an issue for popular opinion to decide. World War 1 was hugely unpopular. World War 2, slightly less so, but still had a low approval rating among the public.

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (3, Interesting)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786773)

Imagine if this was a U2 or similar piloted vehicle instead of a drone. We'd be preparing the bombers right now, along with special congressional resolutions condemning the Iraqis to death for "capturing" one of "our boys."

There are at least two cases where this has happened. The Soviets shot down a U2 in 1960 [wikipedia.org] and held the pilot hostage for over a year until he was traded for another prisoner. Also, in 2001, the Chinese forced a P-3 to land on Chinese soil [wikipedia.org] and held the crew hostage for 10 days before they were released. In both cases, I'm sure the Soviets and the Chinese pored over whatever sensitive stuff was left intact and wasn't destroyed by the crash in the case of the U2 or the US aircrew in the case of the P3.

I wasn't born in the 1960s so I couldn't tell you what the public sentiment was at the time, but in the 2001 incident, I don't remember anyone caring all that much about the hostage crew, all the way up to President Clinton. If I remember, the Chinese forced Clinton to give some kind of apology before they released the crew.

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (1)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786819)

Sorry, my mistake, it was Bush who gave the apology, not Clinton.

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787269)

Except he didn't really apologize. In Chinese he did, but here in English they sounded way different and the Chinese naturally realized he was playing somebody.

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786839)

I don't remember anyone caring all that much about the hostage crew, all the way up to President Bush. If I remember, the Chinese forced Bush to give some kind of apology before they released the crew.

Fixed it for you. Clinton was out of the white house by the time this incident occurred.

From your own link:

The incident took place ten weeks after the inauguration of George W. Bush as president and was his first foreign policy crisis

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787101)

A U-2 was also shot down over Cuba. Relatively few people seem to be aware of this incident, which could hardly have happened at a more sensitive time; during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Re:Why Drones? Right Here's Your Answer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786815)

Yes, the rest of the world knows that the American people is a bunch of cowards.

Alt. Scenario (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786615)

U.S. receives intelligence that Iran are working on tech to bring down an enemy drone safely.
U.S. plays along and lets Iran "land" a drone with sub-par/poisoned tech on board.
U.S. pretends to try and reproduce the bug that Iran publically announces, hence the delay.
U.S. claims that Iran's method couldn't have possibly worked and that it was an unknown error.

Iran thinks that U.S. is either incompetent or has failed to realise the key, unreleased, step in their methodology.
U.S. lets Iran believe that their method works, and, optionally, leads them down the garden path with poisoned tech on board the planted drone.
When Real War breaks out, U.S. has an advantage, drones continue to fly and Iran wastes time and energy trying to perfect their drone-capturing skillz.

can you say cover-up? (1)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786685)

Wow, what is this, the third time the U.S. military has changed their story on this? is there any more obvious way of saying "we are trying to cover something up"?

$5 says it ran out of gas (2)

Flector (1702640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786713)

... 'nuff said

arduino (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786817)

All they could glean from it was that the drone was run by an arduino mega and a few hundred lines of code.

Drone are pretty dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786845)

The current drones are pretty overrated and made to look like some sort of SF self thinking AI creation.
A drone just flies just along it's determined flight path with the assumption that it will not be detected or attacked.
It isn't that smart that it can actually do any evasive action based on it's own judgement.
So if you yam all communications its just a very expensive RC plane that is as lame as a duck.
You just need a way to grab it out of the sky.
And that is the least of your problems.

Double plus wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787073)

Oceania captured a Eurasian drone.

RecDep, Ministry of Truth.

as us Aussies would say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787183)

BULLSHIT.

Question:Why didnt the drone get remotely exploded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787193)

Why didn't the air drone get remotely exploded?

The US has the technology to remotely explode unmaned spacecraft since 1967. The ability to do so, was plannly show cased in the Giligan's island episode 'Splashdown'.

Unman US spacecraft went missing, arriving on Giligan's Island. Close to the end of the episode, the US did not want the unman spacecraft to be found by non-friendly froces, and the US remotely detonated the unman spacecraft.

Strange that the technology was around since 1967, but was not used in this case.

Perhaps there was a reason for that?

PsyOps, OSS, CIA, and a rubberhose in a crypotree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787197)

I BREAK FOR WATER BOARDING! :: PsyOps ::
+ http://www.pipeline.com/~psywarrior [pipeline.com] :: The Office of Strategic Services :::
+ http://guardianspies.com/ [guardianspies.com]
+ http://osssociety.org/ [osssociety.org]
+ http://ossreborn.com/ [ossreborn.com]
+ http://ossog.org/ [ossog.org]
+ http://ossinitaly.org/ [ossinitaly.org]
+ http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/oss/oss.htm [icdc.com] :: CIA ::
+ http://www.zoklet.net/totse/en/politics/central_intelligence_agency/index.html [zoklet.net]
+ http://cryptome.org/0005/cia-iqt-spies.htm [cryptome.org]
+ http://www.youtube.com/user/ciagov [youtube.com]
+ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciagov [flickr.com]
+ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1004145-1,00.html [time.com]
+ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KUBARK [wikipedia.org]
+ https://www.cia.gov/ [cia.gov] ::: WoW! :::
+ http://publicintelligence.net/ [publicintelligence.net]
+ http://cryptocomb.org/ [cryptocomb.org]
+ http://www.cryptome.org/ [cryptome.org]
+ http://www.cryptogon.com/ [cryptogon.com]
+ http://afio.com/ [afio.com]
+ http://www.afcea.org/signal/signalscape/ [afcea.org]
+ http://rijmenants.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

I call your bluff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787285)

This is like a ridiculously bad game of international poker. The information "Iran didn't actually down the drone" is so innocous that for them to not have said it until now shows says something.

Things to ponder:
(1) Why not say something so innocuous until now? -- why hold back something so seemingly benign...?
(2) In order to know how to hack something, you need to first know how it works. How did Iran manage to hack a supposedly secret military technology and get it to land gently on the ground without damaging it?
(3) Simply because the drone didn't self-destruct doesn't mean there aren't technologies preventing tampering with important chips within the drone.
(4) If there is no anti-tampering technology in that drone...I'm sure half of America wants a refund on the gross amount of taxes they're paying towards Defense. Because to not have that when even non-Ph.D. sporting average Joes can watch some action movie and tell you "you need a self-destruct mechanism"...is BEYOND pathetic...in fact, there isn't even a word for how pathetic that is...
(5) For all the money going towards Defense when our economy is basically being given the paddles as we speak yet hasn't had a pulse for a few years now...you can afford to get the same public relations people that dealt with OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson, so do so...they obviously knew how to speak to the press better than you do.

Helicopters are'n' shot down, they malfunction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38787327)

This is kind of like when the US military report that a helicopter wasn't shot down, and that it malfunctioned. I've heard lots of news reports of US helicopters malfunctioning while being shot at. I know correlation isn't causation, but still.

Should be nothing (0)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38787345)

though the more interesting question is what technology will they be able to glean from what they did capture.

The answer would have been, "probably nothing". That is, if we didn't have such a wimp for a president [usnews.com] .

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