Skip to comments.Iran May Have Decoded Captured U.S. Drone
Posted on 04/23/2012 11:30:14 AM PDT by Mikey_1962
According to General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of Irans Revolutionary Guard aerospace division, Iranian engineers are in the final stages of decoding data from the Sentinel aircraft, the U.S. drone that was captured by Iran near the Afghan border last December.
Prior to the capture of the drone, the Sentinel was used in Afghanistan and Pakistan and played a significant role in the raid that allegedly killed Osama bin Laden last year.
The drone went down in December in the eastern portion of Iran and was almost immediately recovered by the Iranians, with the machine fully intact. American officials stated that the drone was being used to monitor Irans military and nuclear facilities prior to going down.
Reports on how the drone was acquired vary depending on the source. While Iran claims it shot the drone down, Washington sources assert that the drone in fact malfunctioned. Those sources also claimed that Iran was unlikely to be able to crack the code that would get the Iranians into the drones security system.
President Obama pressed Iran to return the aircraft, following the capture, but a senior commander of Irans Revolutionary Guard said at the time that no one returns the symbol of aggression.
Hajizadeh recognized immediately the benefits of capturing the American drone, telling state television that acquiring the drone was a national asset for Iran at the time of its capture.
Likewise, Iranian lawmaker Parviz Sorouri, a member of the parliaments national security and foreign policy committee, said that the information extracted from the aircraft would be used to file a lawsuit against the United States for what he called the invasion by the drone. Sorouri added at the time that he had the capability to reproduce the drone through the use of reverse engineering.
When the drone was initially captured, some experts in the United States voiced concerns that such a capture could result in developing countries modeling their own drones after the American craft. The biggest concern was focused on the special coatings on the surface of the drones.
Fox News reports on additional concerns that were raised: There are concerns in the U.S. that Iran or other states may be able to reverse-engineer the chemical composition of the drones radar-deflecting paint or the aircrafts sophisticated optics technology that allows operators to positively identify terror suspects from tens of thousands of feet in the air.
As noted by Time, Iran has gone a long way in reverse-engineering some key technologies in the past three decades, particularly in the areas of nuclear and missile technology. For example, Irans Shahab-3 missile is believed to have been based on North Koreas Nodong-1 design. Likewise, Irans ability to develop a uranium-enrichment program is attributed to a centrifuge it obtained from Pakistan in 1986.
It appears that many of the concerns following Irans capture of the drone may have been founded. Hajizadeh was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying, The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane. Our experts have full understanding of its components and program.
U.S. officials are questioning the validity of these assertions, however.
Senator Joe Lieberman of the Armed Services Committee articulated skeptical sentiments during his appearance on Fox News Sunday. "There's a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly now when they're on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them," Lieberman said, referring to the increasing restrictions on Irans oil industry and central bank that have been imposed by the United States and Europe because of Irans nuclear program. But, look, it was not good for the U.S. when the drone went down in Iran, and not good when the Iranians grabbed it, he added.
Lieberman admitted that the drone was a very sophisticated piece of machinery, and that it was useful in significant operations and locations, particularly at areas where we have reason to believe that they are working on a nuclear weapon.
Similarly, Dennis M. Gormley, an expert on drones and cruise missiles at the University of Pittsburgh, said on Sunday, Its hard for me to imagine no self-destruct or erase mechanism was embedded in the drone to destroy sensitive systems, including software.
But experts on the security systems of the drones admit that the security systems do not always function property.
Gormley, like Lieberman, notes that Iran tends to be misleading and could very well be bluffing. As someone who does monitor Iranian aerospace and missile claims closely, let me simply observe that they are preternaturally disposed to exaggeration, said Gormley.
Despite Liebermans contentions that Iran may be bluffing, Hajizadeh has provided some samples of the data he claims that Iranian experts have extracted from the drone.
This drone was in California on October 16, 2010, for some technical work and was taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan on November 18, 2010. It conducted flights there but apparently faced problems and (U.S.) experts were unable to fix it, said Hajizadeh.
He also stated that the drone was flown over Osama bin Ladens compound in Pakistan just two weeks before bin Laden was reportedly killed by U.S. Navy SEALs, though he did not provide details as to how the Iranian experts knew it. Hajizadeh was also able to report that the drone had been taken to Los Angeles in December 2010 where the aircrafts sensors were able to undergo testing.
"There is almost no part hidden to us in this aircraft. We recovered part of the data that had been erased. There were many codes and characters. But we deciphered them by the grace of God," Hajizadeh adds. "If we had not achieved access to software and hardware of this aircraft, we would be unable to get these details. Our experts are fully dominant over sections and programs of this plane. It's not that we can bring down a drone but cannot recover the data."
Reuters reports that the information extracted by Iran is not only valuable to the Iranian government. An Iranian defense official said recently that Tehran has received numerous reports for information on the craft and that China and Russia have shown most interest.
Someone assure me that we have Mission Impossible type “This recording will self-destruct” technology in all of these drones.
Can’t they just pick up the phone, dial call-a-kenyan, and get any information they want?
it’s probably full of Chinese parts anyway ,so just ask them . They have Decoded Captured U.S. Drone ,so what’s to decode ?
the only thing the Iranians will learn from it will be the wheel
This drone was in California on October 16, 2010, for some technical work and was taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan on November 18, 2010. It conducted flights there but apparently faced problems and (U.S.) experts were unable to fix it, said Hajizadeh.” - article
They read the service sticker on the inside of the panel...they also know next oil change at 67,000 miles.
That is a very droll sense of humor.
For a modest campaign contribution...and since the identity verification protocols are disabled on the BHO campaign website, the Iranians can be Mahmoud Mouse!
The drones don't usually contain any data on board. They relay the data home via satellites as it is gathered. The Iranians have made claims of retrieving surveillance data...this sounds like a bogus claim.
To protect sensitive systems against falling into enemy hands self-destruct tech is usually employed. I have heard the excuse that the weight of such systems was too much and the drone would have been limited by this weight. This is incomprehensible, sensitive chips can contain their own destruction ability from a thin wafer that is over the IC silicon inside it's plastic or ceramic case. Why was this tech not used? or was it used and not activated? Why the ridiculous weight explanation for no self destruct ability?
If the Iranians have the electronics from the drone powered up then unless they are working in a Faraday cage we still have the ability to communicate with the devices.... so exactly what is going on here?? For a long time it has been possible to add an RF transponder inside an IC package. This is no secret anymore. In fact there are 3 commercial systems that allow anyone to put a cheap version of this tech onto a circuit board of their own design. These commercial systems are contained in a tiny package that you solder to the board. Your board can then transmit and receive data anywhere in the world. The poor-mans version of this satellite data setup is called the Spot system and costs a dime per 41 byte data transfer.
Here is the rather large board you have to add to a project to use the Spot system
Of course the more expensive commercial systems have much smaller electronics packages. The government systems would be incredibly small and low-power since they have access to the very large dish antennas on the NRO satellites <350'> and don't have to rely on the low-orbit sats the commercial systems do.
Here is a link to an article on Hack-A-Day about the Spot system and a how-to guide for the hobbyist.
Simple fact, they have it, we could have destroyed or recovered it, we didn’t. What else do you need to know?
I doubt that the Iranians could duplicate manufacture of the micro-circuitry of the craft whether or not they know how it was assembled.Ditto the composites.
And here is the message
it sounded as if they were trying to decompile the contents
of flash memory they found onboard. there would be executables on board, although without data it would be
impossible to know its exact function.
my guess is that the iranians will not get very much from this excersize.
Iran does not have one of our drones. Yes we lost one, but it crashed and was completely destroyed.
Yes, many years ago, we figured out that a drone might eventually get into enemy hands.
Iran’s honesty is on par with an internet matchmaking bio.
Coming from the Composites area I know they cannot duplicate them.