[time-nuts] "The GPS navigation is the weakest point,"

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 16 00:22:03 EST 2011

On 12/15/11 5:51 PM, ed breya wrote:
> My guess is that the drone was on one mission out of many over Iran, and
> one of these scenarios occurred:
> 1. It had a major internal failure and auto-landed or crashed, and was
> then spotted and grabbed.
> 2. There was operator error or guidance failure, causing same result.
> 3. The Iranians finally spotted one and managed to shoot it down - or do
> enough damage to force a landing.
> 4. It was an inside job - a mole or a hacker taking over from the
> control end, or maybe messing with it enough to crash it.
> 5. The Iranians did as claimed - managed to interfere with it or spoof
> it to land. If so, I think the know-how and equipment would likely have
> come from Russia or China, who would have likely been working on this
> type of thing since the advent of GPS.
> Scenarios 4 and 5 are the scariest. What about cruise missiles? This is
> all sounding like a movie plot.
> I wonder the following questions:
> Shouldn't these and other possibilities have been considered all along,
> and various countermeasures worked out?

Yep. and I'm sure they have.

> Do these drones have self-destruct capability?

Of course they do, for things that matter.. software loaded into the 
processors is stored in a battery backed up ram with breakwires or other 
tamper detectors, or equivalent approaches.

Stealth low radar observable technology (at the level evident in these 
things) is widely published. The materials are well known, the design 
principles have been in the open literature for quite a while.

Any sort of fancy engine technology is more in the metallurgy and 
manufacturing of the hot-section parts.  Having an engine in front of 
you doesn't tell you much about how to cast and machine turbine blades.

autopilot algorithms are widely published as open source

The list goes on.

> Don't they also have plenty of video and sensing and other real-time
> data linked back to base that would confirm proper guidance and
> operation? At some point there must have been some indication that all
> was not well.

Right.. and say you had an engine failure.  So you get to watch the 
engine RPM go to zero, as it nicely glides back to earth.  You might 
even be able to send a command to try and turn it towards home.  Maybe 
you issue the "forget all you know" command.


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