The Story You Aren't Being Told About Iran Capturing Two American Vessels

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Justin King via,

The airwaves in the United States were filled with images of sailors on their knees while a US Navy vessel was searched. Unjustified outrage swept the nation. The US Secretary of Defense blamed the incident on a simple navigation error, however a chain of events leading back to 2009 demonstrates the facts are a little more complicated than first appear. The chain of events leads defense analysts to one unmistakable conclusion: Iran has the ability to disrupt US GPS systems. For western military analysts, the thought is terrifying. The West uses GPS for much more than replacing a compass and a map.

In 2009, Lockheed Martin’s RQ-170 Sentinel showed up on a runway in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The aircraft entered service two years earlier, but the public was unaware. The bat wing styled drone is reminiscent of the Stealth Bomber. The similarities extend beyond the cosmetic, and the RQ-170 is the premier spy drone in the US fleet. This was the drone used to map out Bin Laden’s compound. It was tasked with keeping an eye on Iran’s nuclear program. That’s when things got interesting.

On December 4, 2011 a RQ-170 Sentinel crashed into the Iranian countryside. Iran claimed its electronic warfare unit brought the plane down. The US Department of Defense stated the aircraft was flying over western Afghanistan and crashed near or in Iran. The aircraft was 140 miles inside Iran’s borders. The west laughed at the idea of Iran’s military obtaining the capability to down one the most sophisticated drones in the world. One military official remarked it was like:

“dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.”

They probably shouldn’t have been so quick to laugh. It appears the Iranians didn’t just down the aircraft, they took control of it mid-flight. explained:

“Using its knowledge of the frequency, the engineer claims, Iran intiated its ‘electronic ambush’ by jamming the bird’s communications frequencies, forcing it into auto-pilot.  States the source, ‘By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.’


“The team then use a technique known as ‘spoofing’ — sending a false signal for the purposes of obfuscation or other gain.  In this case the signal in questions was the GPS feed, which the drone commonly acquires from several satellites.  By spoofing the GPS feed, Iranian officials were able to convince it that it was in Afghanistan, close to its home base.  At that point the drone’s autopilot functionality kicked in and triggered the landing.  But rather than landing at a U.S. military base, the drone victim instead found itself captured at an Iranian military landing zone.


“Spoofing the GPS is a clever method, as it allows hackers to ‘land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the [encrypted] remote-control signals and communications.’


“While the technique did not require sophistication from a cryptography perspective, it was not entirely trivial, either, as it required precise calculations to be made to give the drone the proper forged distance and find and fine an appropriate altitude landing strip to make sure the drone landed as it did in Afghanistan.


The Iranian engineers knew the details of the landing site, because the drone had been confirmed in grainy photos to be landing at a base in Khandar, Afghanistan.


“Despite the careful calculations, the drone still sustained a dent in its wing and underbody (though it did not have the usual signs of a high-speed collision).  During its press conferences, the Iranian military covered this damage with anti-American banners.


“The engineer explained this damage commenting, ‘If you look at the location where we made it land and the bird’s home base, they both have [almost] the same altitude.  There was a problem [of a few meters] with the exact altitude so the bird’s underbelly was damaged in landing; that’s why it was covered in the broadcast footage.’The approach echoes an October security conference presentation [PDF] in Chicago, in which ETH Zurich researchers laid out how to use interference and GPS spoofing to more gently down a drone.”

The Aviationist agreed and suggested the US “reconsider their drones’ equipment, countermeasures and combat operation procedures as well as Iran’s electronic and cyberwarfare capabilities.” It should be noted the “ox-cart technology culture” has since reverse engineered the drone.

The gross underestimation of the Iranian military led to the recent incident in the Persian Gulf. The story being repeated in the western press is one of ten sailors getting lost and ending up in Iranian territorial waters (if the outlet mentions that part). According to Secretary of Defense Carter, “All the contributing factors to that we don’t know yet, and we’re still talking to those folks, and we’ll find out more … but they were clearly out of the position that they intended to be in.”

Two boats lost their GPS abilities at the same time, and the Secretary of Defense isn’t sure what happened? A few US outlets, such as the L.A. Times, reported on the other malfunctions during the incident. Both boats lost radio communication and all other communication during the incident. A single vehicle losing its GPS abilities can happen. It’s rare, but it can happen. Two vehicles losing the systems at the same time borders on implausible, but there is still a possibility of it occurring through Murphy’s Law. The loss of all communication equipment and GPS systems on two boats at the same time means one thing: electronic warfare.

The unwillingness to admit the US military has spent billions on a system that has apparently been defeated by Iran is the most likely culprit behind the western media’s attempt to focus on the “ill treatment” of US sailors. Even the L.A. Times, which was willing to report on the communications failures, placed the following quote in a bold offset in the same article:

“The way those sailors were treated was entirely inappropriate. … The U.S. Navy would never demand Iranian sailors hold their hands on their heads and coerce a confession.– James Stavridis, retired U.S. admiral”

The U.S. Navy’s installation at Guantanamo Bay has been the scene of the worst treatment of detainees by the US government in decades. The sailors captured by Iran were not waterboarded, deprived of sleep or food, sexually abused, or otherwise tortured. The United States does not have the moral authority to object to how another nation treats detainees.

The burning question now relates to whether or not Iran’s actions constitute an attack on the U.S. It’s not a simple question. Electronic warfare and cyber warfare have become common place. It is also worth noting the two US vessels were within just a few miles of Farsi Island. Farsi Island is the home of the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy (RGN). The RGN is Iran’s maritime unconventional warfare force. For comparison, imagine a scenario in which a nation that has attacked a US civilian airliner and whose political leaders have constantly threatened war sent two boats to  pass extraordinarily close to the home base of a U.S. Seal Team. The reader can decide if Iran’s actions were appropriate.

The most important takeaway from this incident is to remember the high-tech military of the United States has an exposed vulnerability. It’s a vulnerability that was exploited by Iran. Iran is not a nation many in military circles would see as technologically advanced. The drone warfare system has a fatal flaw. If Iran can exploit it, China and Russia certainly can. Even North Korea has been able to successfully disrupt the GPS system. Beyond simple navigation, the U.S. employs the GPS system to guide missiles. If the Iranians can jam and spoof their way into controlling a drone, it isn’t a huge leap to believe have the ability, or will soon have the ability, to do the same thing with guided missiles.

It should be noted that GPS jammers are available on the civilian market and have been detected in use inside the United Kingdom. This revelation may also be the reasoning behind the U.S. decision to require drone operators to register their aircraft.

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Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Common liberal misperception is Peace through Capitulation. Soon realize capitulation = decapitation.

FireBrander's picture

Navigation error my ass!


Equipment failed on both ships?

No way to communicate back to the mother ship?

Mother ship had no idea where these ships were?

No plan to rescue these ships should they BOTH have engine trouble and BOTH have complete communication failure?

These Semen had no idea of North, S, E, W just by looking at the sky?

The Persian Gulf isn't that big and if you're in the middle of it...

1. Head WEST and you'll eventually beach on the shores of a US ally.

2. Head EAST and you end up in IRAN.

The NAV officer couldn't figure this out?

Come fucking on... it's 3PM, the GPS says I'm heading West, but the sun is at my back...something is not right with the GPS...our saliors are that clueless?


thesonandheir's picture

We reverse engineered some folks.

Bunghole's picture

Dailytech.  LOL

I used to follow the site and it went to shit once Purch Media purchased Anandtech and dropped Dailytech.

Jason Mick is a clown show on acid and if you go to their site today, you'll see that no content has been added since late November 2015.

The Mick, as we liked to call him, became a SJW and drove members who followed the site away in droves.

His stories were famous for lots of pictures and tweets with little substance to back up the claims.

PS, I dont disagree with the premise that Iran may have some GPS disrupting tech.

Payne's picture

should be an easy fix, link the compass to the GPS to compare inputs.  If the GPS is being spoofed it will have to correlate with the magnetic compass.  Dooable but not easy to plot.

2 boats losing comm and nav at same time is EW.  We should have been prepared !


FireBrander's picture

You'd think a $7000 made in China, ebay, plastic, "military grade" compass would be standard issue on small boats. "Hey guys, if you get lost, just head West, you'll end up on the beach of a US ally"..."Oh, and here's a flare gun to signal for help".

ConfederateH's picture

I like scott@saker's explanation the most up to now:

"Some people now say that the boats were on a suicide mission, willingly or unwillingly. There are credible reports of an Israeli submarine positioned nearby that was allegedly ready to sink the vessels while in Iranian waters, as a prerequisite for a political fury of sanctions and armed whatnots against Iran over an “attack on the US vessels.”

Had the marines understood what their fate might be we don’t know. However, the Iranians say that the US marines cried while being detained, that’s how scared they were, until they were told that they won’t be killed, tortured, or imprisoned, as they knew the US would have done to Iranians if the situation was somehow reversed.

Somebody must had warned Iranians about this false flag attack. Could it be someone from the US Navy? From NATO?"

0b1knob's picture

GPS location depends on measuring the doppler shift of GPS satellites as they pass over the longitude of the receiver.   Three signals are required for triangulation.

Spoofing would be as simple as intercepting the broadcasts of the three closest satellites and then broadcasting the signals at different frequencies on transmitters strong enough to locally drown out the satellites.   The rest is simple trigonometry.   Even I can see how it could be done and I'm not even that smart.

gonetogalt's picture

This was picked up by some of the Pro-Russian website network...

hope the link works.

It's curious how the network operates, in that each site has an individual focus, (health, veterans affairs, aliens, religion, etc) by all cross post their articles, with different sites taking the lead as 'original source'. The whole network is a pretty sophisticated propaganda outlet for Russian-Briics-AntiZio information.

The genius is that people with totally divergent interests are exposed to truths they would never search out proactively.

Hat tip to President Putin

power steering's picture

Why can't we spoof their shit too? Next iranian missle test land on Teheran's Repub Guards HQ

XuscitizenSweden's picture



gonetogalt's link will ATTACK your PC:


This was picked up by some of the Pro-Russian website network...

hope the link works."




My SecuritySystem Blocked an ATTACK !!!!!!!

gonetogalt's picture

That's pretty just who would be interested in jumping on for a piggy-back ride???

My computer shows no effects, so whatever your security found must be fairly passive...but any ZHer must already be on all Nat Security watch lists...doubt if being overseas would exempt me from normal oversight.

Many more links down thread...others seem to be OK...

conscious being's picture

GTG no worries. What "Security System"? The Langly/Google security system? Like the NSA is not crawling all over his junk already? Warning! Warning! This is your fascist security service warning you away from Russian web sites! Real truth is only Langly/NYT/WaPo approved truth!

Put it on ignore.

XuscitizenSweden's picture

Don't be an a-hole c_b_

I was only trying to help folks.

Hopefully my warning got the  perps to backoff.

Regards X-

XuscitizenSweden's picture

I use an advanced Norton Security Program.......the ALERT_Block box said the site was trying to 'extract infomation' from my PC.

A *HIGH Level Security Threat* was reported & automatically blocked.

A computer with IP attacked my system.


Don't take this warning personally. I use the Novorussia-Link myself occasionally.

Best Regards X-

ConfederateH's picture

That link claims that the Iranians used "“overwhelming” force" but all we see in the foto's are armed fishing boats which don't come close to the US riverine boats in terms of armor.  Perhaps by "overwhelming" they are implying the the Russian/Iranian electronics are "overwhelmingly" superior?  Or is it just their leadership compared to the commisars Obama,Power,Jarret,Nuland,Rice?



XuscitizenSweden's picture



gonetogalt's link will ATTACK your PC:


This was picked up by some of the Pro-Russian website network...

hope the link works."




My SecuritySystem Blocked an ATTACK !!!!!!!

XuscitizenSweden's picture



gonetogalt's link ABOVE will ATTACK your PC:


This was picked up by some of the Pro-Russian website network...

hope the link works."




My SecuritySystem Blocked an ATTACK !!!!!!!

conscious being's picture

Now you have gone full retard. What security system? What type of attack is being claimed. Maybe it's like those Russian submarines the Swedish government always claims are in their waters, but never finds?


XuscitizenSweden's picture

Now you've been an asshole.....fucking imbecile.

Retarded? No.

Aware & trying to Help my ZH-collegues? Yes.

Ever hear av Non Sequiter......look it's Latin; apply to your statement.

conscious being's picture

More details would have been helpful, ie. What security software? What diagnostics did it give you? What browser are you using?

Stuck on Zero's picture

Dead reckoning systems are used by the Army and are good to about a hundred meters in 8 hours.  But, they cost $2K or or even $3K. Obviously too expensive for the Navy.

SimplePrinciple's picture

If Israel wanted a false flag, would she not be better served to sink the vessels in international waters? Or perhaps that would be too obvious. Call me skeptical.

PhilofOz's picture

If anyone is likely to have such capability, I'd point the finger at Israel, not Iran.

Lost in translation's picture

Saker's good but his cred is damaged in my eyes.  He deletes a lot of content challenging his viewpoints, it seems.  Orlov doesn't do that.

I would have liked to read a civil debate on these matters, but I guess Saker has a narrative, too.  Pity.

On another note, I'm reading Saker's book and it's excellent.  I gave a copy to a pastor friend of mine as a gift.

ConfederateH's picture

just try discuss AGW with Orlov.  He is an arrogant prick.

conscious being's picture

Saker got used during his adamant denials that Russia was up to anything in Syria. Nice move by the Russian military, but Saker cred was sacrificed.

golden kafir's picture

 i grew up running fishing boats in an era where all we ever used were a compass and a radar. that's all we ever needed.

BandGap's picture

In math it's called fourier series. Embed the code signals and rotate codes.

Tall Tom's picture

How would that work with the spoofed garbage inputs into the Fourier algo?

Tall Tom's picture

Military targets seem so passe.


Maybe ISIS will buy these jammers, available online, and set up these jammers and and spoof altitude measurements to Commercial Jets on approach near US International Airports.


Since all commercial jet airliners are dependent on GPS...


Can you just imagine the fun?




Payne, You write that Iran committed Electronic Warfare against the USA? Well what about when we infected their computer system with Stuxnet? Was that not an act of Electronic Warfare?

Tall Tom's picture

You can downarrow this and it changes not one iota.


You are too chickenshit to give a response.

PT's picture

I'd like to green it but my arrows aren't visible and aren't working.  I can see the scores but not the arrows.  Anyone else had that problem?

And I can't see why anyone would "red" it.  You put up a very simple case.  I'm sure the thought has already crossed the "inappropriate" minds.

power steering's picture

European and I'm a Putin

Rusty Shorts's picture

They were looking at their compass upside down, happens all the time. 

Killer the Buzzard's picture

Dude, what is your problem with yoga pants?

Intoxicologist's picture

Its like saying, "Your underpants look nice, but they'd look even better on the floor."  

beemasters's picture

"They were looking at their compass upside down".

And they would blame it on Iran's upside-down compass jamming technology. This is also an act of war!!

mkkby's picture

This article is SHIT. 

The US has been testing/invading rival borders for decades.  You can go back to U-2 flights over russia in the 50s, or as far back as you like.  It's all about spying and pushing the limits and seeing how far you can go before they fight back.  Everyone else does it too.

Spoofing GPS?  This must be written by some faggoty computer nerd.  GPS is just another radio frequency.  You jam it by sending the same wave length.  A jammed compass just stops working.  A jammed drone probably flys around in circles until it runs out of fuel and drops in place.

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) mkkby Jan 20, 2016 10:02 PM

But the fact is does not change because you write total crap.

Ignatius's picture

"The chain of events leads defense analysts to one unmistakable conclusion: Iran has the ability to disrupt US GPS systems."

Ever notice how other countries like Iran keep being accused of having these tremendous military capabilities and are constantly concocting and plotting the most outrageous and diabolical conspiracies, yet non-establishment approved analysis, even when backed by overwhelming evidence, are derisively labeled "conspiracy theorists"?  Now why is that?

Fear porn is bigger than porn.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

A:  It's not that advanced and besides they may have bought the capability from Russians.  If the Russians didn't already have this capability they sure as heck do now after they got it from Iran. While there are some super duper Persian STEM talent around I'm guessing it's easier to explain as a Russian development.

B:  Just because you are paranoid does not mean you are wrong.  Many people shout Occam's razor but I have a different take on that.   All schemes increase in complexity until they are sufficiently profitable to be attractive.  Example: Flight - mankind always wanted to fly. At some point the technology and the social system developed sufficient complexity to achieve the task.  I use that because no one argues about it happening.  This generally arises due to the fact "we all gotta eat" and thus are stuck trying until we succeed or supporting others until they succeed.  As opposed to Obama who just sucks seed.

I could have just as well have used "central banking" as an example.  But I don't want a guy with 2 pistols taking a run at killing me.

SmittyinLA's picture

Or maybe the Russians used their device, something stranded 2 boats without radios

Dugald's picture


"yet non-establishment approved analysis, even when backed by overwhelming evidence, are derisively labeled "conspiracy theorists"?  Now why is that?  Fear porn is bigger than porn."

Ha! just wait for the WMD discovery any day now......!



beemasters's picture

If there was any jamming of GPS done, it would probably have been by the US or Israel military blame on Iran. Some psychopaths (Netanyahu and co) are likely frustrated it's been taking so long to find a good cause for a war with Iran. They are now kicking themselves silly that Iran decided to release the detainees instead; thus stirring up this new accusation, hoping it will stick.

FireBrander's picture

Any chance these weren't US Sailors? Given the unbelievable comedy of errors, could Iran have just stumbled upon the shooting of a remake of Gilligan's Island?

astoriajoe's picture

When semen are on active duty, there's not usually much sunlight.

FireBrander's picture

Semen was intentional...these guys were "sent out" to purposely provoke Iran....apparently shooting down a passenger plane flying overhead and then sticking the blame on Iran just wasn't they shoot a few US Semen into Iranian territory and Iran didn't swallow.