Iran claims it hijacked RQ-170 by GPS tampering
- By Defense Systems Staff
- Dec 16, 2011
Iran claims its electronic warfare specialists were able to reconfigure the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates in the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle that it says it captured Dec. 4 and guide the UAV to a safe landing inside that country's borders, Scott Peterson and Payam Faramarzi report in the Christian Science Monitor.
Western military experts and a number of published papers on GPS spoofing indicate that the scenario is plausible, according to the story.
U.S. officials have blamed the loss of the UAV on a malfunction, but Iran's claim to have guided the RQ-170 to a safe leading reasonate more in light of new details about how it brought down the drone and indications that it has developed other electronic countermeasures to offset western technology advantages, the story stated.
An alternate scenario is that the RQ-170 went down in Afghanistan and was transported by vehicle to Iran by friendly forces on the ground, a former officer in the elite Quds Force branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards told Kenneth Timmerman at The Daily Caller. But that's less likely given that the U.S. would have launched a strike in Afghanistan against anyone who had taken it if they had done so, a former U.S. intelligence officer told The Daily Caller.
Iran appears bent on proving it is capable of downing UAVs. Iranian newspapers report that Tehran is planning to invite local reporters and foreign diplomats to an exhibition of seven drones, three from the United States and four from Israel, that it has brought down in the past and also the technology it used to bring them down, reports J. David Goodman at the New York Times' The Lede blog.