Thu, Jun 25, 2009
Looking For Unusual Activity In Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence
Even though local authorities are
unable to get permission from the FAA to use UAV's for police work,
the Customs and Border Patrol have been testing a Predator B
Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) stationed at Fort Drum since early
June for a possible border patrol mission.
According to television station WWTI in Watertown, New York, DHS
is using the restricted airspace over Fort Drum to determine if the
Predator is a good fit for patrolling the nation's northern
Border Patrol currently has five of the unmanned aircraft, none
of which are permanently stationed in the northeast. The Predator
currently under testing will be operating out of Fort Drum for
about three weeks.
John Stanton, director of CBP's Office of Air and Marine, said
state, provincial and local law enforcement agencies were quick to
take up the offer of added surveillance of Lake Ontario and the St.
"So while we were flying, we were asked by our partner law
enforcement agencies if we would be kind enough to be on the
lookout for suspicious activities," Stanton told WWTI.
The Predator flies only in restricted airspace at 19,000 feet,
which means it avoids low-level traffic and lowers the risk of a
midair collision. Stanton said the aircraft is the same as the
Predators flown by the military (shown above), except it carries no
weapons and has a lower-powered engine.
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