Wednesday 5 December 2012

UAVs | Homeland Security News Wire

Drones are used extensively by the United States to monitor not only Iran’s nuclear activities, but also its military moves on land and at sea. Iran’s state television reported on Tuesday that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps naval forces captured an American drone that entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy quickly denied the claim.

The New York Times quotes the Iranian state media to say  that the drone was a ScanEagle built by Boeing, which, according to the Iranian Web site, can be launched and operated from a ship.

A spokesman for the U.S. Navy in Bahrain denied the claim, saying that no American drones were missing.
“The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles operating in the Middle East region,” a spokesman for the United States Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain told Reuters. “Our operations in the gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and airspace. We have no record that we have lost any ScanEagles recently.”

The Times notes, though, that the drone could have been one used by the CIA or the NSA,  both of which also run surveillance operations in Iran. Also, some of the Gulf’s states also use Scan Eagle drones.

If the Iranian claim is verified, it will not be the first drone-related incident in the Gulf. On 1 November, Iranian planes fired at a U.S. Predator surveillance drone. The Iranians claim the drone violated their air space, but the United States maintained it was flying over international water.

Twelve months ago, the Iranians claimed they had spoofed an RQ-170 Sentinel drone and guided it to land on their territory.

The Times notes that a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on unmanned aircraft said that several drone designs are vulnerable to jamming and spoofing. Spoofing occurs when an unencrypted GPS signal is taken over by enemy forces, essentially hijacking the drone.

UAVs | Homeland Security News Wire


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