UPDATED: Lockheed’s Skunk Works Confirms It’s Their Bird (Tuesday 1 p.m.)

OK. Let’s get this out in the open. Neither you nor I are likely to learn the truth about the image of that thing that might be a plane under the white covering. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Speculation on how Iran was able to capture the Pentagon’s stealthy RQ-170 unmanned aircraft has consumed defense and intelligence insiders for weeks. But recent reports based on sources in Tehran claim the highly-classified drone was brought down by an Iranian cyberattack.

Iranian engineers were allegedly able to hack into the unmanned aircraft’s control systems and trick the drone’s guidance systems to think it was landing in U.S-held territory in Afghanistan. In fact, Iranian hackers guided the CIA-operated aerial drone to land in Iran, according to today’s story in the Christian Science Monitor. The so-called ‘Beast of Kandahar’ was conducting intelligence operations over Iran at the time of its capture. Gaps in the plane’s global positioning system allowed Iranian military officials to take control of the plane from its CIA handlers. Iranian intelligence learned about the GPS vulnerabilities by examining other American drones captured by Tehran, according to the story. Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Greg Sanders CSIS photo

  As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: A former senior Pentagon official with extensive knowledge of unmanned aerial vehicles expressed great skepticism of the aircraft supposed to be a stealthy RQ-170 shown on Iranian television today.

We asked one of Washington’s most experienced UAV experts to have a look at the Iranian TV footage today. They say it’s a stealthy RQ-170 that was “spying” on poor Iran and they brought it down with a cyber attack. Keep reading →