Jan 262011

« on: January 26, 2011, 21:44:30 »

Unmanned plane patrolling stretch of Canada-U.S. border
A warning to Canadians smuggling batches of “B.C. bud” or other contraband into the United States: Beware the eyes in the sky.

An unmanned plane the U.S. government has been using to patrol North Dakota’s northern border since 2009 is now flying along a greater section of America’s northern frontier, stretching from Spokane, Washington, to the Lake of the Woods region in Minnesota.

Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection say the aircraft can transmit live, streaming video and radar images from above the huge swaths of rugged — and remote — terrain that are a haven for criminals sneaking marijuana and ecstasy into the U.S. and cocaine into Canada.

“We’re trying to work the border smarter, not harder,” said John Priddy, director of National Air Security Operations Center-Grand Forks in North Dakota, where the aircraft is based. “There’s new technology being deployed, which will make it more difficult to conduct illicit activities.”

Resembling a giant mechanical wasp, the remote-controlled Predator B — which has a length of 12 metres and a wingspan of 20 metres — can stay in the air for 20 hours at a time and typically flies at about 6,000 metres.

article continues at link…

Attached Photo:
The remote-controlled Predator B unmanned surveillance aircraft, which can fly for 20 hours up to 15,000 metres in the air. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency announced this month that its Predators will be patrolling greater sections of the Canada-U.S. border – from Minnesota to Washington states – looking for drug smuggling, terrorist and other criminal activity.
Photograph by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Photo Handout

Info from Airforce-technology:    �
Remote-controlled Predator B unmanned surveillance aircraft

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Re: Unmanned plane patrolling stretch of Canada-U.S. border

« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 22:37:31 »

From wikipedia:
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper

The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (originally the Predator B) is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) for use by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the Royal Air Force, and the Italian Air Force. The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the U.S. Air Force to indicate their human ground controllers. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.

The MQ-9 is a larger and more capable aircraft than the earlier MQ-1 Predator, although it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine, far more powerful than the Predator’s 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine. The increase in power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance and cruise at three times the speed of the MQ-1.Although the MQ-9 can fly pre-programmed routes autonomously, the aircraft is always monitored or controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS) and weapons employment is always commanded by the pilot.

In 2008 the New York Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing began the transition from F-16 piloted planes to MQ-9 Reaper UAVs, which are capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, becoming the first fighter squadron conversion to an all-UAV attack squadron.

Then U.S. Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley said, “We’ve moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper.” As of 2009 the U.S. Air Force’s fleet stands at 195 Predators and 28 Reapers.
Homeland Security version
An MQ-9 of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency
UAV Operators at Joint Base Balad (LSA Anaconda), Iraq, April 20, 2005The United States Department of Homeland Security initially ordered one Reaper for border patrol duty, referred to as MQ-9 CBP-101. It began operations 4 October 2005, but on 25 April 2006, this aircraft crashed in the Arizona desert. The NTSB determined (Record Identification: CHI06MA121) that the cause of the crash was most likely a pilot error by the aircraft’s ground-based pilot in the use of a checklist. During its operational period, the aircraft flew 959 hours on patrol and had a part in 2,309 arrests. It also contributed to the seizure of four vehicles and 8,267 pounds of marijuana. Because of these successes, a second Reaper, called “CBP-104” (initially referred to as “CBP-102”), was delivered in September 2006, and commenced limited border protection operations on 18 October 2006. The program was further expanded on 16 February 2009, including Canadian border patrols where US officials were concerned about the exploitation of the border by “drug smugglers, migrants and terrorists”.

The CBP-101 was equipped with the Lynx SAR, AX-15 payload, ARC-210 radios, and other sensors and communications equipment; CBP-104 was enhanced with Ku band satellite command and control link and MTS-A EO/IR sensors.[24]

The President’s FY 2006 Emergency Supplemental budget request added $45 million for the Reaper program, and the FY 2007 Homeland Security Appropriations bill adds an additional $20 million. In October 2006, GA-ASI announced a $33.9 million contract to supply two more Reaper systems by Fall 2007.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has six operational MQ-9s. One based in North Dakota, at the UAS Operations Center in Grand Forks, four in Arizona, at the UAS Operations Center in Sierra Vista and one based at Fort Drum, N.Y. The aircraft are equipped with GA-ASI’s Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (Lynx SAR info/web page) and Raytheon’s MTS-B ElectroOptical/Infrared sensors.

more information at link…

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Now, they want radar, too

« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 09:06:35 »

From Stars & Stripes:


U.S. senators from states along and near the nation’s northern border requested Thursday that the Department of Defense provide military radar to crack down on drug trafficking by low-flying aircraft.

Drug smuggling across the border with Canada is much more prevalent than indicated by the number of cases in which drugs have been seized, according to a federal report from November and recent media stories that Sen. Charles Schumer of New York cited.

Less than 1 percent of the 4,000-mile border is considered under the operational control of U.S. border officials, a General Accountability Office report found this month. Most areas of the northern border are remote and inaccessible by traditional patrol methods, the report said.

Customs and Border Protection believes it can detect illegal entries, respond and deal with them on only about 32 miles of the northern border. The Border Patrol was aware of all illegal border crossings on only 25 percent of the border, or 1,000 out of 4,000 miles, the GAO report said.

Some members of Canada’s Parliament have dismissed American worries about security along the countries’ border. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has said Canada has improved security.

Use of radar in Washington state from 2005 to 2008 by the departments of Defense and Homeland Security was considered a success in identifying low-flying, drug-smuggling aircraft that hadn’t been previously identified ….

Much work remains to be done before we can announce a total failure to make any progress…

Gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

Re: Unmanned plane patrolling stretch of Canada-U.S. border

« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 05:27:05 »

Send out armed Reapers instead and splash any aircraft that don’t comply with flight standards.  That will get them back to just smuggling with trucks, boats and body packs.

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