Washington - U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today the delivery of its sixth Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System. The remotely piloted Predator B allows CBP personnel to safely conduct missions in areas that are difficult to access or otherwise considered too high risk for manned aircraft or CBP personnel on the ground.
The new aircraft will operate from Libby Army Airfield in Sierra Vista, Ariz., in support of border security operations along the southwest border of the United States.
Built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., CBP Air and Marine's new Predator B unmanned aircraft will support CBP's primary mission of securing the border and preventing acts of terrorism by providing long-duration reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, tracking and acquisition capability to augment crewed law enforcement aircraft and watercraft as well as ground interdiction agents.
Since 2004, CBP unmanned aircraft have flown more than 3,000 hours, directly contributing to 4,766 arrests and the seizure of 22,823 pounds of marijuana in support of the Department of Homeland Security's border security mission.
The Predator B is capable of flying at 240 knots for more than 18 hours at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet. Equipped with the Raytheon MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System (with electro-optical, infrared, laser designation, and laser illumination capabilities) and Synthetic Aperture Radar, CBP Predator Bs also supports other homeland security and disaster relief efforts.
In addition to the southwest, CBP deployed a Predator B UAS to Grand Forks, N.D., for northern border operations in December 2008. During the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, CBP also deployed its Predator B to the southeast coastal region to support hurricane preparations and recovery operations.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.