Thursday, December 17, 2009

Remarkable how the US still pays millions of dollars for a military technology that can be defeated with a $500 laptop and $25.95 worth of software.

WSJ. WASHINGTON -- Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.

The Air Force has staked its future on unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones account for 36% of the planes in the service's proposed 2010 budget.

Today, the Air Force is buying hundreds of Reaper drones, a newer model, whose video feeds could be intercepted in much the same way as with the Predators, according to people familiar with the matter. A Reaper costs between $10 million and $12 million each and is faster and better armed than the Predator.

I would think that in the nearest future video feeds from police drones will be easily intercepted by hightech criminals.

From a 5-element analysis perspective, this is a very good illustration of how critical Payload packaging is for the overall system integrity and performance. The ability to handle the format of the video feed in question is deeply embedded into all relevant subsystems. Changing the format would require a technology overhaul that would cost the military billions of dollars.

tags: five element analysis, payload, control point, control, information, drones, transportation, 10X, constraint

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