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Ranger and Bonker , Predator Drones


You can see the wakes of small boats like a formation of contrails from thousands of feet above -- the next moment the screen flashes and there's a jet-skier astride a bouncing craft leaving behind it a rivulet of foam.

As of noon today this full motion video, FMV, feeding from a camera aboard a MQ-1 Predator circling Choctawhatchee Bay in the Gulf of Mexico, was accessible to anyone with the IP address. The webpage exclaims "Welcome to FMV!" next to three agency logos, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Aerospace Data Facility-East, and the Washington Innovation Center of the Combat Information Center.

Yester'eve as I agoogle browsed, and did see what fish would bite on Shodan, as is my wont, I searched the latter for three letters and ended up watching jet-skiers via US government aerial video feed.

FMV stands for "full motion video," it's commonplace in military operational documents, describing mission capabilities and the proper use thereof (via a Proper Use Memorandum, PUM). I searched the Shodan index for FMV, limited to servers in the United States.

Nothing fancy, I'm no hacker, I don't even have a hoodie and I<3Tor bandana to wear while I watch a terminal scroll too quickly to read.

I didn't even have to browse halfway down the page, and just above GMA Funding Hard Money Direct Nationwide Lenders, bingo. WIC didn't mean anything to me, but (U), often used to indicate an Unclassified document or system, did.

Unclassified doesn't mean it's not sensitive material, just that access to the information isn't restricted to clearance holders, and ironically for our purposes marking documents or sites as unclassified flags them as interesting. 

As some may have noted the other night along with me, this site was pretty interesting.

Welcome to FMV, Courtesy of Ranger1, with wingman, Bonker0, currently MIA.

On the landing page one has the option of creating a video wall with multiple feeds, as well as downloading Google Earth (kml) files.

Here's some of the livestreaming video I recorded with my phone and point-and-shoot.

There's also an RSS feed you can download.

Not only that, but this bird is local. The location is given as 16REU7110768761

If you search that string on Google it returns a single result:

Which is about right for a nest at Eglin Air Force Base.

Indeed, with the geography in mind it's easy to identify the two bay bridges in the drone footage.

Ranger1 seems to be a true drone, operating autonomously rather than being actively flown by a remote pilot (in which case it is simply a UAV or RPA, remotely piloted aircraft). The camera seems to track automatically between a high altitude view down to near surface-level, with the cross-hairs training on various watercraft. 

Best guess is that this is a Predator of the Eglin UAV "battlelab," although there are a few other large, medium altitude candidates that are somewhat less likely. 
The automated camera movement causes the wing and fuselage to occasionally come into view, even revealing what seems to be a number plate, I hope to be able to get a clear enough image to identify.

The scanning and zooming is presumably part of a test of the autonomous targeting system. Apparently the Air Force is using fishing boats and vacationers as a simulated enemy, dummy targets.

I can't find any such test documented or announced, although there is a special Temporary Flight Restriction for the airspace later this month for a counter-UAV exercise.


  1. That's insane! I live right near those two bridges. I am near Eglin Airforce Base. Those things are flying right over my head! Where can I get a live view, I want to see my house. Of all the places in the world, they're flying drones right by me.

  2. They are not flying over your head. They are likely flying ONLY on the Air Base. They are not allowed to fly over American Air Space (excludes bases) without EXTREME permissions.

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