Inside Unmanned Systems

FEB-MAR 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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24 unmanned systems inside February/March 2017 P ut yourself in the shoes of General Ma Xiaotian, Commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force. Your task is to penetrate U.S. air surveil- lance networks, slip drones into American airspace and spy on critical infrastructure like dams, power plants, factories, etc. The only problem is, you're on a relatively tight budget compared to what you are used to—relative being the key word. How do you do it? You could consider the con- ventional way. First, you'd get the Third Department of the People's Liberation Army's General Staff Department (3PLA or China's NSA) to spend months hacking into NORAD's secure servers, hoping to crack into their radar tracking system. If successful, you'd get Chinese Military In- telligence to sift through the data to find any possible gaps in American radar cov- erage. Then you'd get the Chengdu Aero- space Corporation, designer of China's J-20 stealth fighter, to make a long range stealthy drone with a SATCOM data link. With an incredible amount of risk—a third world war is possible if you fail—you'd f ly the 15,000 mile round trip route carefully avoiding the F-22s in Okinawa, Alaska, and Hawaii to arrive at your target. Af- ter a 30 hour mission, a few billion dollars in development, and a very real chance of evoking nuclear war—BAM—you'd have some great imagery of California. OK—this option is probably a bit too ex- pensive even for the Chinese, but what's an adversary Air Force commander to do? Well, thankfully the Americans may make it dead easy for you if they don't ap- by JAMES POSS, MAJ GEN (RET) USAF, CEO ISR IDEAS OPTION 1: HACK DRONE UNMANNED TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (UTM), PICK A DRONE IN THE RIGHT PLACE, HACK THEIR IMAGERY SERVER OPTION 2: HACK UTM BUT TAKE OVER THE DRONES TO GET IMAGERY OPTION 3: INSTALL DATA LINKS NEAR TARGET INFRASTRUCTURE, USE THOSE TO TAKE OVER DRONES. OPTION 4: START AN INFRASTRUCTURE INSPECTION FIRM AS A FRONT TO GATHER IMAGES. HACKING U.S. DRONES TO SPY ON U.S. INFRASTRUCTURE General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (RET) USAF OF DETECT AND AVOID THE DARK SIDE Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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