Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Robert F. Mills, PhD.


A new aircraft surveillance system, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), is being introduced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with mandated implementation in the United States by the year 2020. The rapid deployment of the system with current test-beds spread across the U.S. leaves very little chance for anyone to test the abilities of the system and more importantly the flaws of the system. The research conducted within this thesis explores some of the weaknesses of the system to include the relative ease with which false aircraft targets can be injected. As part of a proof of concept, false ADS-B messages were successfully generated using a system comprised of GNU Radio, a Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP), and software developed by the author. The ability to generate, transmit, and insert spoofed ADS-B messages on the display of a commercial ADS-B receiver, identified and exploited a weakness of the ADS-B system. Four demonstrations, conducted within an experimental environment, displayed the potential uses of the system created through this research and its associated impacts.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number