Predator Drones Becoming a Bigger Force on the US Border

By Caroline Rees / 20 May 2012
Follow UST

General Atomics Predator UAV

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that they will be relying more on unmanned aircraft to patrol the southwest border.

Predator drones focus primarily on terrorist threats, but they’ve proven to be effective in tracking smuggling.

“There are several cameras in here that allows us to see infrared at night through several different focal lengths,” said Customs and Border Protection Air Interdiction Agent Scott Peterson. “We can see daytime TV so we can identify colors on vehicles or shirts.”

Drones can fly up to 18 hours straight, and a special maritime radar system allows them to also monitor the water.

“We’ve seen everything from rafts crossing rivers to shrimp boats to launcher boats,” Peterson stated.

Each drone costs more than $18 million. Customs and Border Protection has a total of nine unmanned aircrafts, and plans to add a tenth by the end of the year. Four of the drones currently reside in Arizona.

Not everyone is on board, however, with the idea of using drones to monitor our borders.

Critics have pointed out that drones can also be used to spy on American citizens.

Officials have stated that the unmanned aircrafts are doing nothing different than what manned aircrafts have always been doing.

Posted by Caroline Rees Caroline co-founded Unmanned Systems Technology and has been at the forefront of the business ever since. With a Masters Degree in marketing Caroline has her finger on the pulse of all things unmanned and is committed to showcasing the very latest in unmanned technical innovation. Connect & Contact