UAV missions boost tech presence on border

A Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle will begin its first surveillance flights over the border between the United States and Canada in early February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said.

The test flights are part of a plan to link aerial imagery and data with a network of marine and ground sensors and other technologies along the border, they added.

Officials said the agency has been flying UAVs over the border with Mexico since 2005 to augment data collected by sensors and other technologies. They had announced Predator B flights over the Canadian border as part of a test program nearly two years ago, but they only recently completed negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration and other entities to obtain the necessary approvals, Juan Munoz Torres, a CBP spokesman, said Dec. 11.

The Predators are capable of flying 260 miles per hour for more than 18 hours at altitudes of 50,000 feet. The new Predator B will operate out of Grand Forks, N.D., and carry radar, infrared camera, video camera and communications equipment.

In March, CBP officials said they were refining a security strategy for the northern border and intended to demonstrate an integrated air, land and marine solution. Congress included $20 million for a northern border security demonstration project in the fiscal 2009 budget.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.