'Birds Eye View' Will Help Agents Find Intrusions
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents patrolling the
Arizona-Mexico border now have a new tool available to help them
respond to illegal intrusions, as the first Predator B Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle was deployed for operation last week at Sierra Vista
Municipal/Libby Army Airfield in Ft. Huachuca, AZ.
"Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in using unmanned
aircraft systems to secure our nations borders," said Thomas J.
Cassidy, Jr., Aircraft Systems Group president for General Atomics
Aeronautical Systems, Inc., makers of the Predator B.
high-altitude, extended-duration operations, the Predator B will
provide long-endurance surveillance and communications relay in
support of the CBP’s Arizona Control Initiative (ABCI,) and
will be operated and maintained by GA-ASI personnel in close
cooperation with CBP Border Patrol agents. Real-time images from
the aircraft will enable proper assessment of intrusions and
eliminate false alarm responses by agents, thereby increasing their
Predator B is also expected to provide agents with a detailed
"birds eye view," particularly in remote portions of the border
where CBP Border Patrol agents cannot travel easily or safely, and
infrastructure is difficult or impossible to build.
"To secure our nation’s borders is priority number one,"
said Robert C. Bonner, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border
Protection. "CBP now owns and operates the most advanced
state-of-the-art technology and is capitalizing on the Predator B
unmanned aircraft system to secure the country better. This
'eye in the sky' will not only support the 'boots on the ground'
but will also allow us to deploy resources more effectively,
ultimately enhancing our ability to gain operational control of our
The Predator B is a larger version of the original Predator
aerial vehicle, with 500 percent greater payload capacity,
in-flight endurance exceeding 30 hours, and a top speed of
over 220 knots. The Predator B can also operate above 50,000 ft