Think about it, if somebody were to have used terms like: “Counter-UAV Lasers”, “Hacker Drones” or “Invisible UAV’s” ten years ago, you would have called them nuts; Now, you would just call them “extremely informed” or better yet, “cutting edge”.
For some folks, the advancements in UAV or drone technology over the years has been viewed with increasing skepticism. Sure, drones are used in our national defense and to kill bad guys overseas in dirka-dirka land, but it has also been proven it is not beyond the scope of domestic spy agencies like the NSA and Law Enforcement entities like the FBI to use drones to spy on American citizens as well.
As civilian operators, if we expect to stay one step ahead of big brother in the area of privacy, then we have to understand the vast capabilities of drone technology that are becoming available. Simply thinking of drones as kinetic weapons platforms or as surveillance birds is “yesterdays news” as they say. Time to expand our thinking a bit.
So many times we as civilians forget that there is another dimension of warfare out there beyond the visible and conventional means of sea, air, land and space. The CYBER dimension of warfare is one of the most important elements, both to the military and to the civilian, only because computers and the cyber-element encompasses and make-up so much of modern society. To prove this, a recent poll asked what is the one item you would include in your “End of the World” Kit? Most popular answer: Extra Cell Phone Battery! Forget that the cellular networks will be useless and the power grid down!! People are attached to their technology the same way a drug addict is to narcotics. They don’t think past their nose WHY they need it, they only know they DO.
The Hacker Drones
First it was Facebook using drones as a wi-fi hotspot, then Amazon started using them to deliver packages. Now, some black hatters have designed a drone that can hack your computer and inject nasty malware. It all started at the most recent Def-Con Conference. When I heard about this, I thought about that saying when the sequel to Jaws came out when I was a kid; “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…” Now with these little SOB’s floating around the airspace the saying has to be changed to “Just when you thought it was safe to access free wi-fi…” What was once a very narrow field of expertise (hacking skill-set’s) is suddenly becoming very common knowledge for anybody with $2500 and access to the dark net. That’s bad news for regular joe’s like you and me.
Our Enemies Are Ahead of the Curve, (because they stole the Map to the Road)
With the U.S. pushing to advance it’s Stealth technology in the over-hyped and under-delivering F-35 Aircraft, China and Russia are said to have already developed “anti-stealth” technology to render the billion dollar jet obsolete before it even goes fully operational. This should come as no surprise to us that have been keeping a tally on China’s “Intelligence Coup’s”. The OPM Hack was the most recent and without a doubt, the most damaging national security breach in American History. Termed the “Cyber Pearl Harbor” most analyst have a hard time quantifying the damage that was done. But beyond the hack is China’s extremely aggressive HUMINT operations inside the United States. Ranging from expansive spy rings to the old school “student spies”. China has been playing full-court press for a while now when it comes to stealing intelligence and developing assets.
The Anti-Drone Laser
Aero-nautical Defense giant Boeing recently introduced their Anti-Drone Laser Weapon. Go ahead and flush those mental images you are having right now of of Star Wars and the green laser beams blasting Empire TIE-Fighters into oblivion. No, this works more like a slow cooker: a really, really hot laser burns a hole through the drone. Yeah, I know, pretty boring; buy highly effective and QUIET!
“Initiate the Cloaking Device Mr. Sulu….”, The Future of Invisible UAV’s
Yeah when I was in the military there was this fantastic rumor floating around that they had actually invented an invisible stealth bomber. And when I say invisible, I mean literally invisible..like you would walk into it invisible, not just stealth radar signature invisible. Yeah, I did not buy it back then either; but it made for some interesting conversations to pass those boring 12 hour watches!
But fast forward to today and that fantastic rumor is well on it’s way to becoming a reality. Scientist at the University of California, San Diego are working on an actual Cloaking Device for drones. Who knows in another 20 years this tech may be applied to all military aircraft.
We might as well face it guys, Drone Technology is growing at such a fast clip, sometimes the Military has a hard time keeping up, much less the run of the mill civilian. As the direction that technology is taking drones is unclear as far as citizens privacy is concerned, so are the legal ramifications of owning and flying drones in the CONUS.
While some over-zealous martial civilians are taking it upon themselves to Shoot Drones Down, others civilian operators have decided on a less drastic and more subtle approach in using Drone Shield, a product available to civilians I have discussed at length in this series.
Whatever your chosen method in dealing with drones, the CO must understand they are here to stay. And while some civilian operators may choose to only choose to look at the negative aspects of drones (invasion of privacy rights), the smart CO will look at drones with a much broader perspective. Yes, they can be used against the civilian populace to invade our privacy, but in the same way, this very technology is available for the CO to manipulate and use…if the CO is willing to learn.
It is a Brave New World folks, let’s use it to our advantage and Stay Dangerous and not Stupid!
Stay Alert and Stay Armed.