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View Full Version : The downed drones, and LightSquared...



marv
12-13-2011, 05:18 PM
...do you suppose there is a connection?

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/10/lightsquared-disrupts-75-of-gps-receivers-in-govt-testing/
(snip)

The saga of LightSquared added a new chapter last night, as Bloomberg reported on the preliminary result of tests of the satellite Internet provider’s service in relation to GPS devices. The Obama administration has pushed LightSquared as a provider for its ambitious broadband expansion over the objections of the military, which warned that LightSquared’s operations would interfere with the satellite-based navigational system.

(snip)

I dunno, but there is always the possibility. I do know from my military service, and much of my DoD civilian service, that a lot goes on behind the curtains. Sometimes it only comes out after a disaster.

SarasotaRepub
12-13-2011, 05:38 PM
Wait till they open the Drone up and find vacuum tubes...:D

Starbuck
12-13-2011, 05:57 PM
Wait till they open the Drone up and find vacuum tubes...:D

Well, we don't really think they're going to find that! And come to think of it, if they did, all these young PhD's would be left scratching their collective turbans.

No, it's going to be integrated circuits and potted devices, and it is going to be hell to reverse engineer! In fact, I'll go a step further and say it is impossible to reverse engineer the sensors. But what they will do is analyze the paint like covering on the drone and see what formula makes it virtually invisible to radar.

Brings up an interesting question: Can our radar detect the drone? I'm sure it can't, but if the operator knew where it was could he pinpoint it?

Years ago, in Viet Nam, sitting at a surface search radar, I was able to predict the arrival of aircraft by watching their radar interfere with ours. Heh, heh....that technology is long gone, no doubt.:Taps4:

DumbAss Tanker
12-13-2011, 06:20 PM
Amazing that it doesn't have a either a built-in demo charge on board or a 'Kill me now' GPS transponder squirreled away in it, of course for the latter you'd have to have advanced clearance to launch your killer cruise missile delegated to an in-theater commander, rather than wait seven or eight months for Obama to dither his way through to a forced decision, by which time the thing will have long been parted out to laboratories in Russia and China.

Novaheart
12-13-2011, 06:52 PM
I have great faith in our military in the fact that this thing did not self destruct leads me to believe that it's precisely where we want it to be.

Rockntractor
12-13-2011, 06:54 PM
I have great faith in our military in the fact that this thing did not self destruct leads me to believe that it's precisely where we want it to be.

Or maybe where Obama wants it to be.

marv
12-13-2011, 07:10 PM
It did have a self-destruct circuit. If communications failed, the self-destruct was supposed to be triggered. But if the self-destruct failed, it would soft land. DUH!

What kind of idiot engineering design is that? Maybe just something rushed through DARPA. Haste makes waste, or so they say! Why not just FedEx it to Iran?

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/400/2666115/DARPA-aims-to-cut-time-it-takes-to-develop-weapons-by-80-percent-
(snip)

Lt. Col. Nathan Wiedenman, AVM's deputy program manager, said one huge reason programs tend to exceed their budgets is that they take so long to complete. And the reason they take too long is they have to be close to fully-assembled before designers can see whether they work properly.

"So how do we currently design these big, complex systems? We do it the same way we've been doing it for over 50 years," he said. "We break down the systems we need, typically along engineering disciplinary lines. This is a power system; this is a thermal system; this is a drive system, for example. And we make sure that all the parts are the best possible for their individual tasks. And then we put it all together, and we build it. After we build it, we test it to see if it works the way we expected. And of course, invariably, it doesn't, so we have to go back and redesign, rebuild, retest and so on. That takes a lot of time and a lot of money to iterate like this."

That process has been what it's been, Wiedenman said, by necessity. Up until now, there hasn't been a way to know how the millions of components of a high-tech weapons system would work together without actually building one.

New concept to develop products

That's the challenge DARPA is trying to solve. They're working to build a set of software tools that would let the Pentagon and its contractors develop products with a concept called "correct-by-construction." Instead of taking up the resources of a factory floor to build a prototype and successive test models, a product works the way it's supposed to the first time it rolls off the assemble line.

(snip)...all in all, scary!

Starbuck
12-13-2011, 08:55 PM
It did have a self-destruct circuit. If communications failed, the self-destruct was supposed to be triggered. But if the self-destruct failed, it would soft land. DUH!

What kind of idiot engineering design is that? Maybe just something rushed through DARPA. Haste makes waste, or so they say! Why not just FedEx it to Iran?............

I don't see where it had a self destruct design, although I have found a reference to the "Fly level if confused" mandate. Got a link to the self destruct design?

patriot45
12-14-2011, 12:53 AM
At least the big 0 asked them to give it back, pretty please.:rolleyes::mad:

marv
12-14-2011, 05:34 AM
I don't see where it had a self destruct design, although I have found a reference to the "Fly level if confused" mandate. Got a link to the self destruct design?


iran_letter iran letter DEBKAfile - RQ-170's self-destruct mechanism failed to work http://t.co/a6mNUwLs #iran #US
6 days ago Reply Retweet Favorite 3 similar tweets

...and http://www.debka.com/article/21550/

...and http://cleaves.zapto.org/news/story-2876.html?print_page=true&include_comments=true

A military analyst on FNC mentioned the sequence of "land if you can't self-destruct". Screwy IMHO.

Tipsycatlover
12-14-2011, 09:49 AM
It did have a self-destruct circuit. If communications failed, the self-destruct was supposed to be triggered. But if the self-destruct failed, it would soft land. DUH!

What kind of idiot engineering design is that? Maybe just something rushed through DARPA. Haste makes waste, or so they say! Why not just FedEx it to Iran?

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/400/2666115/DARPA-aims-to-cut-time-it-takes-to-develop-weapons-by-80-percent-...all in all, scary!

It was probably not the engineering design, but a leak giving Iran the control codes.

Odysseus
12-14-2011, 10:16 AM
Wait till they open the Drone up and find vacuum tubes...:D

I'm not too worried about that, but if they figure out how we motivate the squirrels to power them, we're in real trouble. :D

The biggest problem with the drones is that they are not effective unless you control the airspace. If you are up against an enemy with ADA assets, you will lose drones, and eventually, they will back-engineer them and figure out how to detect, jam or hack them. Eventually, we'll be back to manned aircraft and artillery.

marv
12-14-2011, 10:27 AM
Eventually, we'll be back to manned aircraft and artillery.

Nothing beats "hands on"!

Starbuck
12-14-2011, 10:52 AM
Meh, I dunno. I'm still not convinced the Iranians brought it down. "Bring down" some more and I will be convinced, though.

Some of the statements by some of the sources sound confident. Like this one:
Its almost perfect condition confirmed Tehran's claim that the UAV was downed by a cyber attack, meaning it was brought in undamaged by an electronic warfare ambush.
Almost perfect? The wing - it is said - had been removed, and no one is allowed to see the undercarriage. And even it is in "almost perfect" condition that still would not "confirm Tehran's claim". And ALL of Tehran's claims need to be confirmed.

Time will tell us, though.

At this point I don't believe drones have a self destruct feature, because it would be too dangerous. Dangerous as in, "Hey, Starbuck, How about fueling up that there drone? But be careful. Don't use your cellphone while you're doing it because it has a bomb inside it! And the Spooks won't tell us what sets the bomb off." See the problem?

Interesting stuff.:)

DumbAss Tanker
12-14-2011, 10:56 AM
It did have a self-destruct circuit. If communications failed, the self-destruct was supposed to be triggered. But if the self-destruct failed, it would soft land. DUH!

What kind of idiot engineering design is that? Maybe just something rushed through DARPA. Haste makes waste, or so they say! Why not just FedEx it to Iran?

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/400/2666115/DARPA-aims-to-cut-time-it-takes-to-develop-weapons-by-80-percent-...all in all, scary!

That's all well and good, but it's simply a discussion of hardware virtual prototyping, not an explanation of the conceptual failure in planning and wargaming for the 'What if it fails in this mode over enemy territory?' part of the issue. That's a 'Thinking it through' problem rather than a hardware problem, really one for which the PM rather than the politicians should be held accountable.

marv
12-14-2011, 11:28 AM
That's all well and good, but it's simply a discussion of hardware virtual prototyping, not an explanation of the conceptual failure in planning and wargaming for the 'What if it fails in this mode over enemy territory?' part of the issue. That's a 'Thinking it through' problem rather than a hardware problem, really one for which the PM rather than the politicians should be held accountable.

But from DARPA...
New concept to develop products

That's the challenge DARPA is trying to solve. They're working to build a set of software tools that would let the Pentagon and its contractors develop products with a concept called "correct-by-construction." Instead of taking up the resources of a factory floor to build a prototype and successive test models, a product works the way it's supposed to the first time it rolls off the assemble line.

That's the weak link.

txradioguy
12-14-2011, 11:55 AM
What was that story a few months back about a virus infecting the computers that control our drones?

Tipsycatlover
12-14-2011, 12:17 PM
Meh, I dunno. I'm still not convinced the Iranians brought it down. "Bring down" some more and I will be convinced, though.

Some of the statements by some of the sources sound confident. Like this one:
Its almost perfect condition confirmed Tehran's claim that the UAV was downed by a cyber attack, meaning it was brought in undamaged by an electronic warfare ambush.
Almost perfect? The wing - it is said - had been removed, and no one is allowed to see the undercarriage. And even it is in "almost perfect" condition that still would not "confirm Tehran's claim". And ALL of Tehran's claims need to be confirmed.

Time will tell us, though.

At this point I don't believe drones have a self destruct feature, because it would be too dangerous. Dangerous as in, "Hey, Starbuck, How about fueling up that there drone? But be careful. Don't use your cellphone while you're doing it because it has a bomb inside it! And the Spooks won't tell us what sets the bomb off." See the problem?

Interesting stuff.:)

I'm not convinced that the Iranians brought the drone down alone. Not without help from our own government.

Arroyo_Doble
12-14-2011, 12:28 PM
I'm not convinced that the Iranians brought the drone down alone. Not without help from our own government.

You mean like when the Clinton Administration arranged for the Chinese to get our EP-3E Aries II by forcing it to land on Hainan Island?

DumbAss Tanker
12-14-2011, 01:16 PM
But from DARPA...

That's the weak link.

My point is that it DID work the way it was supposed to, they just didn't correctly think through the consequences of it doing exactly that.

marv
12-14-2011, 06:32 PM
My point is that it DID work the way it was supposed to, they just didn't correctly think through the consequences of it doing exactly that.

I agree completely. If it was in fact a concept or design error, then a prototype and testing would (or should) have exposed it. Is it more important that something, anything, roll out the door? Or that the end product satisfy the mission despite delays or cost overruns?

Rockntractor
12-14-2011, 06:37 PM
I agree completely. If it was in fact a concept or design error, then a prototype and testing would (or should) have exposed it. Is it more important that something, anything, roll out the door? Or that the end product satisfy the mission despite delays or cost overruns?

This was given to Iran, there were no mistakes or errors made other than ours at the last presidential election.
It had destruct function built in and we chose not to use it.

SarasotaRepub
12-14-2011, 06:42 PM
I have great faith in our military in the fact that this thing did not self destruct leads me to believe that it's precisely where we want it to be.

I want to believe that.

Kay
12-14-2011, 09:14 PM
It had destruct function built in and we chose not to use it.

Even if it wasn't built in, it should have been real easy to zap it from afar the minute
it went out of control. We could zap it right now and everyone near it if Barry would
just pull the trigger and send a loud clear message.

linda22003
12-16-2011, 09:09 AM
It's official: LightSquared interferes with GPS
By Bob Brewin 12/15/2011

The Defense and Transportation departments along with the multiagency Positioning, Navigation and Timing executive committee confirmed in identical statements transmitters that startup cellular company LightSquared plans to use for a national wireless broadband network caused "harmful interference to the majority" of general purpose Global Positioning System receivers in recent tests.

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20111215_8381.php?oref=topnews

Starbuck
12-16-2011, 10:12 AM
I don't understand something:
From what I have been able to learn, Lightsquared operates two geosynchronous satellites covering the U.S. and Canada.

The central issue is that GPS receivers will not be able to tell the difference between Lightsquared's signal and the standard (let's call it that) GPS signal. But that issue centers around the fact, and it is a fact, that GPS receivers are cheaply made and have poor selectivity (that means they can pick up unwanted signals easily).

But military GPS receivers should have no such problem, having a much greater signal selectivity/rejection capability. I was a naval electronic technician, so I am more familiar than most with the measurement.

So what am I missing? What does the operation of geosynchronous satellites over the U.S. have to do with the failure of a military grade GPS receiver operating in the sky over Iran?:confused:

djones520
12-16-2011, 11:14 AM
I don't understand something:
From what I have been able to learn, Lightsquared operates two geosynchronous satellites covering the U.S. and Canada.

The central issue is that GPS receivers will not be able to tell the difference between Lightsquared's signal and the standard (let's call it that) GPS signal. But that issue centers around the fact, and it is a fact, that GPS receivers are cheaply made and have poor selectivity (that means they can pick up unwanted signals easily).

But military GPS receivers should have no such problem, having a much greater signal selectivity/rejection capability. I was a naval electronic technician, so I am more familiar than most with the measurement.

So what am I missing? What does the operation of geosynchronous satellites over the U.S. have to do with the failure of a military grade GPS receiver operating in the sky over Iran?:confused:

You raise a very good point. Lightsquared's signal only affects North America. Best not to let facts get in the way of assumptions though.

marv
12-16-2011, 11:51 AM
I don't understand something:
From what I have been able to learn, Lightsquared operates two geosynchronous satellites covering the U.S. and Canada.

So what am I missing? What does the operation of geosynchronous satellites over the U.S. have to do with the failure of a military grade GPS receiver operating in the sky over Iran?:confused:

The USAF controllers are located at Creech AFB Indian Springs, Nevada.

Rockntractor
12-16-2011, 12:18 PM
Best not to let facts get in the way of assumptions though.

These look like facts to me

The USAF controllers are located at Creech AFB Indian Springs, Nevada.

It's official: LightSquared interferes with GPS
By Bob Brewin 12/15/2011

The Defense and Transportation departments along with the multiagency Positioning, Navigation and Timing executive committee confirmed in identical statements transmitters that startup cellular company LightSquared plans to use for a national wireless broadband network caused "harmful interference to the majority" of general purpose Global Positioning System receivers in recent tests.

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20111215_8381.php?oref=topnews
This doesn't prove that in this instance it directly effected the drone but since you only know fact give them to us.

Arroyo_Doble
12-16-2011, 12:28 PM
It's official: LightSquared interferes with GPS
By Bob Brewin 12/15/2011

The Defense and Transportation departments along with the multiagency Positioning, Navigation and Timing executive committee confirmed in identical statements transmitters that startup cellular company LightSquared plans to use for a national wireless broadband network caused "harmful interference to the majority" of general purpose Global Positioning System receivers in recent tests.

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20111215_8381.php?oref=topnews

They are not in use at the moment?

I am not sure I understand the article with regards to whether or not this company is currently operating the transmitters.

Starbuck
12-16-2011, 12:39 PM
These look like facts to me


This doesn't prove that in this instance it directly effected the drone but since you only know fact give them to us.
The key to me was their phrase "the majority of general purpose GPS receivers". I don't see how that has anything to do with circuitry used in a military drone, which certainly does not have anything that could be termed a "general purpose" receiver. After all, military aircraft equipped with military grade electronics are not getting lost, even here in the U.S. If they were, it would be a whole 'nother thing.

I can't see that the location of the controller in Nevada has anything to do with a GPS receiver located in Iran.

But like I say, bring down a few more drones and they'll certainly make a believer out of me. We have about 6,000 of them; ......well, 5,999 now.;)

Rockntractor
12-16-2011, 03:27 PM
The key to me was their phrase "the majority of general purpose GPS receivers". I don't see how that has anything to do with circuitry used in a military drone, which certainly does not have anything that could be termed a "general purpose" receiver. After all, military aircraft equipped with military grade electronics are not getting lost, even here in the U.S. If they were, it would be a whole 'nother thing.

I can't see that the location of the controller in Nevada has anything to do with a GPS receiver located in Iran.

But like I say, bring down a few more drones and they'll certainly make a believer out of me. We have about 6,000 of them; ......well, 5,999 now.;)

I don't believe it is the cause either, but that said I think people that added the possibility to the conversation have a point worth consideration.
My belief is complete speculation, I think some one gave them the codes and the knowledge necessary to bring it in.