U.S. Buys High-Tech Drones To Surveil Southern Border
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems won a $14 million U.S. Customs and Border Protection contract to create an unmanned aerial vehicle, known as the Predator B craft, to more effectively protect U.S. borders against terrorists, illegal aliens, and drug smugglers. The vehicle will patrol the Tucson sector, a 260-mile section of the U.S.-Mexico border, where more than 50 percent of illegal aliens were captured in 2004.
The vehicles will include electro-optic sensors and high-tech communications, and movement will be controlled by border patrol agents who will then view images in real time, according to Mario Villarreal with the Border Patrol.
The vehicle will supplement other intrusion detection and intelligence-gathering activities already underway at the border. “The UAV technology will give us eyes where we previously didn’t have them,” boasted CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner. “This improves our ability to deter, detect and apprehend individuals conducting illegal activity, including smugglers, terrorists and people attempting to illegally enter our country.”
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Washington Times (08/31/05) P. A5; Seper, Jerry