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Border Security: New Eyes in the Skies

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 5 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2007 Pages: 20,22,25
Don Philpott
Date Published
February 2007
5 pages
This article discusses the use of Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs) in aerial border surveillance and the technology necessary to make UAVs effective and successful in the task of border security.
The new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has the potential to dramatically affect how the Government and civilian surveillance applications are conducted, particularly when it comes to border surveillance. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) introduced the UAVs to the Border Mission in 2004 when they were employed to support the Arizona Border Coordination Initiative. The UAVs provided valuable surveillance information and intelligence data to border patrol officers. In moving forward to the next generation, there have been difficulties in using the smaller, lower-flying UAVs along the border. However, new technologies have been developed to address the problem, new navigation and collision-avoidance technology. Additional technology was developed to provide the necessary safety and accuracy of remote piloting and navigation of UAVs. This article goes on to present and describe two Unmanned Aircraft Systems, the VistaNav and the Predator B. The Predator B was found to continue to be the cost effective system of choice in supporting all homeland security missions across the Nation’s borders.