Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UAV Anxiety: Losing Touch with Distant Drones

Thanks to Peter Reed and Stephan Tremble for this. You'll recall how I drone on about the fuel demand implications of a global sky filled with DOD UAVs 24/7/365. Boring, right? Well, bet you hadn't thought of this energy-related risk (below) ... I certainly didn't !!!
During "lost link" episodes, when communication with the air crew is broken, the plane circles on a preset course and waits for direction. "We have to find it. It's like hide-and-seek," Dowd said. The week Gersten took command at Creech, a power surge hit the base and he lost contact with several Predators and Reapers over Afghanistan and Iraq. His crews told him this was nothing to worry about, and in fifteen minutes all the planes were back online. Two weeks later, another power surge hit Creech and he lost contact with more Predators and Reapers. Within a half hour, all were found. But systems so technology-dependent will be vulnerable to exploitation, whether through hacking or physical interruption of data -- shooting down a satellite, perhaps, along its round-the-world journey. And in increasingly wired war zones, everyone will be fighting for bandwidth.
Read the full article in Esquire ... quite interesting indeed.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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