Tag Archives: drone aircraft

New documents show al-Qaeda’s fight against drones

According to a report in the Washington Post al-Qaeda leaders have groups of technical staff, including engineers, working on plans and ideas that will give them a better chance to fight US drone aircraft.

These ways could include shooting the drones down, jamming the radio signals that control them or even hijacking the drones, effectively making them do the bidding of al-Qaeda.

According to the report in the Washington Post, there have been few signs of any successes since the al-Qaeda programme was launched in 2010.

The information comes from a classified government report, called “Threats to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”, which was provided to the Washington Post by Edward Snowden.

Although this is perhaps not news to some, the fact that al-Qaeda are actively engaged in this sort of programme is worrisome when one considers the U.S. Airforce Scientific Advisory Board’s two-year old report that warned of how:

““increasingly capable adversaries” in countries such as Afghanistan could threaten drone operations by inventing inexpensive countermeasures.”

That’s basically people who know a hell of a lot about unmanned flying vehicles telling you that people like the one’s mentioned in the other report are getting closer and closer to working out how to stop them / bring them down / take control of them….

Drone comes too close for comfort to airliner over New York

CCN recently reported about a unmanned drone that came within 200 feet of a commercial airliner in the skies above New York.

According to CCN, the crew of Alitalia Flight 608 reported seeing the drone as the plane was approaching John F. Kennedy Airport.

Since the incident, the FBI have stated that the incident involved a aircraft no more than 3 feet wide with four propellers.

The FBI said it was working on identifying the air plane and whoever had been operating it at the time.

While the drone in question does not seem to have been military, the incident highlights how drone planes are incredibly hard to keep track of.

There were no reports of the drone being spotted on radar.

At the same time, it gives an indication of the potential destructive use of even unarmed drone aircraft. The craft in questing was not large enough to cause serious structural damage to the Alitalia plane if there had been a collision.

But imagine a scenario where it was sucked into the engine of the Alitalia plane. Then it could have a devastating effect.

Iran want to build the same drone that got shot down?

Recently, reports emerged that Iran had downed a US RQ-170 Sentinel Drone.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the Iranians are now saying that they are in the final stages of extracting data from the drone. The Iranian government said that it planned to use the data to sue the US for infringing on its airspace.

Interestingly enough, the Iranians claimed that they are also planning to replicate the drone aircraft through a process of reverse engineering.

Now several things strike me in this context.

One is the fact that there might be a couple of serious faults with the design of the RQ-170.

One is, of course, tied to the that the Iranians were apparently able to hit it. The RQ-170 is built by Lockheed Martin and most experts agree that it is a stealth drone, built for reconnaissance. In other words, it’s a spy that isn’t supposed to show up on the enemy’s radar.

And it obviously did.

The second problem is the fact that the Iranians are apparently able to extract data from the downed drone. You’d expect that the data in question would be heavily encrypted. making it hard for them to decipher it. You would probably also expect the drone to be fitted with some sort of kill switch, that would try to erase the data, if the craft was damaged. This doesn’t seem to be the case.

Now, perhaps the data the drone in question wasn’t thought to be valuable enough to engage such a kill switch, or perhaps such a device isn’t fitted to the RQ-170. In not, then recent event seem to indicate that it probably be in the future.

All of this does, in some ways, make it less likely for the Iranians to actually be advancing in leaps and bounds as they claim to be. Because if they’re having so few difficulties getting the data and were able to actually hit the RQ-170, then why would they want to build more of them?

It would be like witnessing the first incarnation of the famous/infamous Mercedes A-class failing the security tests and then proceeding to build thousands of them.