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Hacking is a game mechanic featured in ArmA 3.

Overview

Hacking into a REDFOR-controlled Mk30A sentry gun.

Military and civilian drone operators, regardless of whether they specialise in operating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Unmanned Ground Vehicles, can hack into drones and autonomous turrets on opposing sides.

For example, an REDFOR drone operator can utilise hacking to turn a hostile BLUFOR sentry gun into a friendly turret, which will then attack BLUFOR targets that come within range.

To begin hacking a system, simply approach the target from any direction and select the Hack X (X being the name of the target) command in the Action Menu once within range. The process immediately converts the turret's "allegiance" to the hacker's side (the hacker still remains vulnerable for approximately ten seconds until the animation completes). Upon completion, the system will then be interfaceable by the hacker or any friendly UAV/UGV Operators on their faction's side equipped with a UAV Terminal.

Note that it is possible for all sides - no matter their alignment, to seize control of autonomous systems owned by civilians. Lastly, it is also possible to take over allied systems that do not belong to the hacker's side (i.e. BLUFOR unit hacking into an INDFOR platform).

Limitations

Not all soldiers/civilians are able to hack autonomous systems. Only UAV/UGV Operators (or alternately units modified via the setUnitTrait scripting command) can utilise this mechanic. If no units with this capability are nearby, the hostile platform will either have to be destroyed or disassembled to eliminate it as a threat.

Hacking cannot be performed remotely and requires the operator to be within physical range of touching the system to commence the process. The original owner can also re-hack the system to revert its "allegiance" back to normal.

Hackable systems (alphabetical)

PLEASE NOTE:
Hacking in this article's context only applies to situations outside of the non-canon First Contact campaign. As such, remote hacking/jamming and other aspects of Electronic Warfare (EW) related to using the Spectrum Device tool are not detailed within this section, nor do they apply to this mechanic.


Akinaka ED-1D

Akinaka ED-1Ds can be hacked.

Akinaka drones can be risky to hack as their arm-fitted Disruptor Shotguns are deadly at close ranges (particularly if loaded with slugs). However, the shotgun module has a limited rotation arc and requires the drone to fully rotate itself in the hacker's direction in order to aim, which opens a small window of opportunity.

Since it relies on tracks for mobility, Akinaka drones are quite slow and easy to outmanoeuvre. If they must be hacked into, sprinting right up to the drone is usually sufficient. However, be ready to select the Hack command quickly before the drone can rotate its arm shotgun around.

AL-6 Pelican

AL-6 Pelicans (both variants) can be hacked into.

To hack a Pelican UAV, the drone must be grounded or hover next to the hacker in order to seize control. There is no risk to the hacker as all variants lack weaponry.

AN/MPQ-105

The Defender AA system's radar unit, the AN/MPQ-105, can be hacked into.

Hacking the AN/MPQ-105 will allow the operator to make use of its active radar sensor, though it is useless by itself without its accompanying launcher battery. AN/MPQ-105s can be hacked with no risk as they lack armament.

AR-2 Darter

The AR-2 Darter can be hacked.

Darter UAVs are only hackable if they are grounded or hovering right next to the hacker. Darters pose no threat to the hacker as they do not possess armament.

Demining UGV

Demining UGVs can be hacked into.

The civilian/IDAP version of CSAT/NATO ED-1Ds, Demining UGVs are generally benign as civilians do not automatically open fire upon military forces. Should the Demining UGV be controlled by a hostile operator, then taking the same approach as one would with military ED-1Ds will be required.

Drone

The Drone can be hacked.

A non-military version of the AR-2 Darter/Tayran AR-2, hijacking the Drone's controls is generally not possible unless it happens to be hovering right next to the hacker.

ED-1D Pelter

ED-1D Pelter UGVs can be hacked into.

Similar to their CSAT counterpart, Pelter UGVs can be somewhat risky to hack as their Disruptor Shotguns can and will turn the hacker into a block of human Swiss cheese.

For best results, disabling the robotic arm first will eliminate the threat. However, this will in turn render the Pelter useless to hack into as it will now require repairs to make use of its arm operation once more.

ED-1E Roller

ED-1E Roller UGVs can be hacked.

The unarmed version of ED-1Ds, the Roller UGV has no real means of self-defence against hackers and are too slow to outrun them.

A recalcitrant owner can attempt to deter would-be hackers by threatening them with...jabs from the Biopsy Probe. However, they will require multiple successive "hits" before any lethal damage is inflicted.

Jinaah AL-6

The Jinaah AL-6 (both variants) can be hacked.

Jinaah drones must either be grounded or hovering next to the hacker in order to override their original owner's controls. Jinaah drones pose no danger to the hacker as they are not outfitted with weaponry.

K40 Ababil-3

K40 Ababil-3 UCAVs can be hacked into.

Unless the Ababil-3 is grounded on a runway's tarmac, hacking them in any other situation is virtually impossible. Depending on the drone's loadout (i.e. LOM-250Gs), this can be outright suicidal as the original operator can effectively self-destruct the drone to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

KH-3A Fenghuang

The KH-3A Fenghuang can be hacked.

Generally, Fenghuang UCAVs remain out of reach unless they're grounded on the runway. If so, they can be easily taken over as unless the hacker happens to be standing right in front of a missile's pylon, there is no risk of being killed by any of its ordnance.

MIM-145 Defender

The MIM-145 Defender launcher battery (not the radar unit) can be hacked into.

Hacking the launcher will allow the operator to fire its SAMs, though it's redundant without friendly Data Link-enabled platforms to feed targeting information to the battery. Hacking the Defender launcher bears no risk as it will not fire upon infantry targets.

Mk30A

Mk30A sentry guns can be hacked.

Since the turret is limited to a maximum horizontal rotation arc of 40 degrees, the gun can safely approached by simply coming up to it from behind.

Mk32A

Mk32A sentry guns can be hacked.

As with the Mk30A, its grenade launcher-armed counterpart can also be hacked by simply walking up to it from behind (or staying out of its 40 degree aiming arc).

MK41 VLS

MK41 VLS batteries fitted onto Liberty-class destroyers can be hacked into.

Note that because the MK41 VLS is not fully autonomous, the hacker must manually operate the launcher to force it to fire its ordnance. There is however, no risk to approaching the launcher as it does not attack targets without manual control.

MK45 Hammer

MK45 Hammer guns on Liberty-class destroyers can be hacked.

Similar to the MK41 VLS, MK45 Hammer guns are only semi-autonomous and require manual control (after connecting to the turret first) in order to fire upon its former owners.

As with the MK41 VLS, there is no risk to approaching the Hammer as it cannot attack targets without manual control.

Mk49 Spartan

Mk49 Spartan launchers can be hacked into.

The Spartan launcher will automatically engage aircraft aligned its former owners and ignore "friendlies". Because it will not attack ground targets unless forced to do, hacking the Spartan comes with no risk to the hacker.

MQ-4A Greyhawk

MQ-4A Greyhawk UCAVs can be hacked.

As with its CSAT counterpart, it is physically impossible to hack a Greyhawk that isn't grounded. The original owner can also force the Greyhawk to drop laser-guided bombs (GBU-12s) on its own position, denying the drone and simultaneously killing the would-be hacker.

MQ-12 Falcon

MQ-12 Falcon drones can be hacked into.

Although hackable, Falcons are essentially impossible to get close enough to unless the original owner decides to hover right next to would-be hacker for whatever reason. Furthermore unlike with most armed drones, the Falcon can adequately defend itself from unscrupulous hackers with its rocket pods - without the need to self-destruct.

There is a better chance of hacking into grounded Falcons as unlike ones already in the air, a grounded Falcon will require several seconds to spin up its rotors fully. This provides a limited window of opportunity for a hacker to get within range before the Falcon flies off.

Praetorian 1C

The Praetorian 1C AAA gun turret can be hacked.

Hacked Praetorians will instantly fire upon its former "allies" regardless of whether they are ground or air targets. However because it has the ability to rotate fully in all directions and fire upon the would-be hacker, approaching Praetorian turrets is extremely risky and shouldn't be attempted in most situations.

One method (though nonetheless dangerous) is to sprint as quickly as possible to get up close to the turret from whichever direction it isn't currently aiming at. The small area at the base of the turret is too low for the gun to depress, giving the hacker enough room to begin the process.

R-750 Cronus

R-750 Cronus radar sites can be hacked into.

Note that in order to properly turn the system against its original owners, hacking the launcher battery will also be necessary. There is no risk to the hacker as R-750 radars possess no means of self-defence.

Remote Designator

Remote Designators (all variants) can be hacked.

No matter the model, Remote Designators pose no threat to the hacker due to their lack of weaponry. However, the designator is not fully autonomous, and requires the hacker to manually toggle its laser once its controls are seized from the owner.

S-750 Rhea

The S-750 Rhea AA launcher can be hacked.

It should be noted that just like with its (separate) radar unit, S-750 launchers by themselves are useless without support from other Data Link-enabled active radar platforms. As the S-750 does not fire upon ground targets, there is no risk to hacking the battery.

Sayyah ED-1E

Sayyah ED-1Es can be hacked into.

As with their NATO counterpart, Sayyah UGVs are completely helpless to prevent would-be hackers from overriding their owner's controls. The only "method" of deterrence is via its Biopsy Probe, though any attempts to threaten the hacker this way are futile at best and laughable at worst.

Tayran AR-2

The Tayran AR-2 can be hacked.

Just like other UAVs, Tayran drones can only be hacked into if the drone is hovering right next to the hacker or it is grounded. There is no risk to the hacker as Tayran UAVs do not possess any means of self-defence.

UCAV Sentinel

UCAV Sentinels can be hacked.

It is not possible to get within range of a Sentinel in most situations unless the drone is grounded on the runway.

As with other armed drones, the original operator can also opt to destroy the drone by dropping its bomb payload on itself, preventing the Sentinel from falling into enemy hands and killing the would-be hacker.

UGV

UGVs can be hacked into.

A civilian/IDAP version of its mil-spec CSAT/NATO counterparts, the UGV carries no armament and relies purely on speed to get away from would-be hackers.

The only threat they pose to the hacker is from being run over, though this can be mitigated by simply sneaking up to the UGV to avoid being detected by its owner.

UGV Saif

The UGV Saif (both variants) can be hacked into.

Armed Saif drones can be dangerous to hack as their dual heavy machine gun/automatic grenade launcher turrets will easily shred the hacker within seconds if detected. On the other hand, they can begin driving away to either run over the hacker or move away to shoot them.

The only marginally safe method to get within range is to crouch-walk as close to the drone as possible, then sprinting right up to it once the drone begins swivelling its turret in the hacker's direction. There should just be barely enough time for the hacker to override its controls before the drone fires its weapons or attempts to drive away.

Alternately, shooting the drone's tyres to immobilise it or disabling the turret first with medium calibre weapons can (mostly) eliminate the risk. However, doing so will effectively render the drone useless and makes it pointless to hack into.

Regardless, hacking armed Saif drones is ill-advised and should not be attempted unless there is no other option available.

UGV Stomper

UGV Stompers (both variants) can be hacked.

As with its CSAT counterpart, armed Stomper drones pose the same dangers to the hacker and should not be attempted without good reason to do so.

Utility Drone

Utility Drones (both variants) can be hacked into.

Hacking Utility Drones is only possible if the drone is grounded or the original operator is foolish enough to hover right next to the hacker. Similar to its military counterparts, Utility Drones are risk-free to hack as they do not carry armament.

Trivia

  • Hacking as a mechanic is prominently featured in one of the missions of the Apex Protocol campaign, where it actually serves as an (albeit secondary) objective for the player(s).

See also

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