Predators on the Line

Predator B UAV Now On The Prowl Along US-Mexico Border

The USAF has received seven of these bad boys, but number 8 will be defending the homeland:

Designed for 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 patrolling effectiveness.

The US Border Patrol is spending over $14 million for the UAV. A year of support and maintenance is included, with an option to buy a second bird next year. That’s a lot of samolians, but if used properly it will be money well-spent.

The illegal immigration/drug trafficking/terrorists entry problem as I see it, though, isn’t so much a capability issue as it is a willingness-to-do-anything-about-it issue. At least strategically speaking. Still, when more eyes were provided by the Minuteman Project, it seemed to demonstrate that the problem was solvable with sufficient resources, so maybe this UAV will be a “force multiplier” for the Border Patrol like it often is for our military forces deployed overseas. Let’s hope so.


  1. The Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office is sitting on several good ideas that could be use to protect the border. Man-Portable Networked Sensor System – An internet based multi-sensor program. (This program could be one of the reasons for UFO sightings..) The Navy has the relocatable Over the Horizon backscatter radars, that could provide wide area coverage to detetect vehicals & low flying aircraft. Though you may have to change some laws to allow these radars to function vs US targets. Mounting Project Oculus platforms on the existing aerostats on the boarder would provide high quality coverage. With a little more effort you could convert the aerostates to a ultra-wide area Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar to detect movement in the boarder area.