Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Robert F. Mills, PhD.


During sensitive military operations, such as air operations in theater, the broadcasting of ADS-B messages poses a serious security concern, but the small message payload of ADS-B transmissions renders encryption standards such as AES unsuitable. Format-preserving encryption (FPE), a technique already in use on small message sizes such as credit card numbers, provides a suitable implementation of strong symmetric key encryption for the military context. This research proposes and details a Secure ADS-B (SADS-B) system which utilizes a bump-in-the-wire approach for encryption and decryption of ADS-B messages using FPE, going on to then characterize the prototype's performance using the following metrics: detection and error rates, operational latency, and utilization of resources on the underlying field programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware. Findings include sub-millisecond operational latency, full data rate throughput capability for ADS-B, and approximately 50% utilization of the available FPGA resources. Overall, findings suggest that a layered security system such as SADS-B is suitable for adding confidentiality to ADS-B.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number