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CBP Keeping Maryland Workers Busy on Newest, Most Sophisticated Border Security and Detection Aircraft

Release Date: 
March 13, 2014

WASHINGTON – It’s not often that citizens in the National Capital Region get to contribute hands-on efforts to interdict dangerous drugs and apprehend illegal migrants at our nation’s borders, but that is precisely what is happening in Hagerstown, Md.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) fleet of Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) is undergoing extensive modification of an integrated sensory package installations and the work is being done by Hagerstown’s Sierra Nevada Corporation employees.An employee makes modifications to equipment in the MEA

CBP accepted the sixth and latest modified multi-role enforcement aircraft from Sierra Nevada Wednesday. It will be based in Jacksonville, Fla.

The MEA, a highly sophisticated airborne detection platform, is based on a Beechcraft Super King Air 350ER. The stock aircraft is sent to Sierra Nevada, where the airframe is modified and then equipped with state-of-the-art detection, tracking and surveillance systems.

Presently, five aircraft are flying out of operating locations in San Diego and Jacksonville. One additionally aircraft is planned for delivery in April, and another in October. CBP awarded a contract to Sierra Nevada in September 2009 to modify up to 30 MEAs.

“The Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft is a vital component of  U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s border security mission, and the work being performed by the men and women at Sierra Nevada Corporation’s facility in Hagerstown is instrumental to our ability to carry out that vital mission,” said Edward Young, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for OAM.

The MEA has a maximum speed of 270 knots (310 mph), maximum range of 1,620 nautical miles and an endurance of five hours. The crew compliment is two pilots and two sensor operators.

An MEA in the warehouseIt is equipped with global positioning systems, weather radar, wide-area air and marine surveillance and search radar, ground-moving target indicator, digital video and audio recorders, and an electro-optical/infrared camera, which allows for optimal surveillance capability during day or night.

The MEA enhances law enforcement and emergency efforts by providing a rapid-response deployment capability.

The MEA Fact Sheet is available here.

OAM is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, and is a critical component of CBP’s layered enforcement strategy for border security. With 1,200 federal agents, 273 aircraft and 286 marine vessels operating from 83 locations throughout the United States, OAM uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.

In Fiscal Year 2013, OAM aircraft achieved 73,576 flight hours, and marine vessels 44,685 underway hours. OAM resources contributed to the apprehension of 63,562 undocumented aliens, and the seizure of 1,015,076 pounds of marijuana, 155,121 pounds of cocaine, $25,314,502 of currency, and 2,194 weapons.

Visit CBP’s Office of Air and Marine for more information.

Visit CBP’s border security mission here.

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Video and still images of Sierra Nevada employees installing the integrated sensory packages may click on the following links:

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017