Iran Cracks RQ-170 Stealth Drone Code.

Yee haw!  Save your money boys and girls.  Looks like Iran may be going into the flight controller business soon.  Once commercialized, the RQ-170 based flight controller should outperform DJI, and Arducopter.  Maybe even give Mikrokopter a run for its money.

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  • as far as capturing the video feed from drones, yeah, it was very easy, I did it on my last deployment with free ware version of a video capturing program.  I saw OUR OWN drone's video feed as the sensor operator was getting it.  Since the only way to stop this was to encrypt the feed I made no mess with it happening.  "they" said they were working on encrypting the feed, but I know military speed on such things and I would not doubt that only the very high end drones have such encryption right now.

    Speaking of there a DIY video encryption we could put into our drones?  For proof of concept of course.

  • hey wait a minute, I thought drones are streaming upstairs? Plus, since its a satellite uplink, it can't be analogue data stream, can it? Then, it gets a bit tricky for Iranians to capture such kind of data, unless their flying carpets are capable in reaching 20+ km heights.

  • Andrew, that's hilarious.  It must have required many "takes" to get that recording down, since the narrator must have been cracking up every time he read a line.

  • It is not that many years since the US found video recordings from the pradator drones (think it was from those) in an al quida computer. It turned out that the video feed was not encrypted, so with a dish antenna and some computer stuff, you were able to "wire-tap" the drones tv link...

  • The algorithms have been on the web all along.  All the Iranians had to do was to navigate their browsers here

  • Chad, there has been a discussion about capturing the drone using fake GPS on DIYDrones before. You can find the original blog post here: If I remember correctly, the most common theory was, that the Iranians used fake GPS signals to make the plane believe that it was flying over its base, instead of over Iran, which would have caused it to land. 

  • I've been thinking about what you said John, about capturing a drone with a fake GPS signal, I don't think it can be done.  Can you expand on that?

  • one thing is to capture drone with a fake GPS signal, another is to disassemble military-encrypted code. Once they'll get that thing into the air, I'll have my thumb up (for Russians of course - they helped then, they might help now)

  • The link Jan Detlesfsen gave about the Iran article on the drone was most enlightening.  In the end though, no other stealth aircraft has that color of paint on it and it is truly the coating on the aircraft's skin that gives the majority of stealth technology its punch.  I do believe they were able to recover data from it, but a maintenance log is not going to help them copy it.  Damn, so much to say about reverse engineering something like that.  I'll skip to what I think is the end result.  So What. 

    Even if they are able to copy its outside dimensions and understand what each component does and even if they are able to use Russia and China to help them manufacture parts they are still missing two vital components.  First is trained personnel.  You can't get a simple plane off the ground without have a crew that knows whats what with the aircraft.  Second is the software.  I think we all know what happens when you misplace a decimal in a line of code around here.  I can't imagine how complicated the coding is for not only the flight controls but for the operation and coordination of all of the aircraft's subsystems.

    In the end, reverse engineering this will help them, no doubt, but will they be flying one over Washington a year from now toting along a nuclear bomb in it?  Nope.  It is going to take a minimum of another year just to piece together a crappy "copy" and another 10 years to reconstruct or make their own software package to make it fly. 

    The deconstruction of the sensors is of more value to Russia, China and Iran than the actual copying of the airframe.  It can tell them all kinds of things like altitude limits and what the sensors can "see" and thus how to hide from it.

    Overall, I'm with Jan on his comment about them releasing everything they find to the general public.  That truly would be something to behold.  Perhaps it would be something akin to the wikileaks scandal.

    I love how complicated this world can be, it's beauty in all of realities glory.

  • Another interesting article on this:

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