CBP Unmanned Aircraft Reach 10
CBP Unmanned Aircraft Reach
Washington D.C. - June 03, 2011 -- (GA-ASI)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
 announced today that its Office of Air and Marine's
Unmanned Aircraft System program has achieved a historic milestone, exceeding
10,000 flight hours.
Unveiled in 2005, the highly capable and proven Predator B
UAS supports CBP’s primary mission of securing the border and preventing acts of
terrorism by helping to identify and intercept potential terrorist and illegal
cross-border activity. Manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.,
the aircraft’s operational capabilities, payload capacity and mission
flexibility greatly enhances the agency's enforcement and emergency and disaster
The remotely piloted aircraft provide aerial surveillance
support for up to 20 hours for personnel on the ground by investigating sensor
activity in remote areas to distinguish between real or perceived threats,
allowing CBP ground forces to best allocate their resources and efforts, and
providing increased visibility even at night or in low light.
CBP also deploys the UAS in support of federal and state
directed disaster relief. The Predator B’s capability to provide high-quality,
real-time data assessing critical infrastructure before and after catastrophic
events makes it an ideal aircraft to support emergency preparations and recovery
CBP Air and Marine group conduct aerial
operations with their UAS aircraft over areas affected by Hurricane Ike to help
broadly assess damage so as to better deploy rescuers to specific areas with the
The CBP UAS provided emergency support for the 2008 Atlantic
hurricane season and the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Red River floods in the Midwest
with excellent results. During the 2011 Red River Flood response, CBP flew and
collected 1,778 nautical miles of Synthetic Aperture Radar in 22 days, heralding
the single most extensive SAR collection efforts ever achieved. The CBP UAS was
also operated in the Gulf of Mexico to assist with oil search efforts during the
Deepwater Horizon incident.
Today, CBP operates three Predator B aircraft from Libby Army
Airfield in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and two from Grand Forks Air Base in North
Dakota. OAM also operates a Predator B maritime variant, the Guardian, from Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in
In March 2008, CBP and the U.S. Coast Guard successfully
conducted a demonstration of a maritime variant of the Predator B from Tyndall
Air Force Base, Fla. The event was the culmination of more than a year’s work to
deploy and demonstrate the integration of a variant of the Predator B within CBP
and Coast Guard maritime operations. In November 2008, CBP and the Coast Guard
formed a UAS joint program office to identify and address common maritime UAS
requirements, including sensors, command and control, data exploitation,
logistics training and basing.
CBP currently has two additional Predator B aircraft on order
with scheduled delivery dates in early fiscal year 2012. These aircraft will be
the new “Dash 7” configuration that can be equipped with either land or maritime
radar systems in less than eight hours.
CBP Unmanned Aircraft System highlights:
UAS Predator operations have resulted in the apprehension of 4,865
undocumented aliens and 238 smugglers; the seizure of 33,773 pounds of
contraband; and 4,285 sensor activations.
OAM has trained over 100 UAS aircrew since program inception.
Fort Drum, New York, OAM conducted simultaneous UAS law enforcement
support operations via satellite, and demonstrated long-endurance UAS
operations executed by several OAM UAS command sites.
In July 2009, OAM conducted the first-ever UAS landing at a commercial
airport for CBP’s participation in Oshkosh. This was also the first time a UAS
was on display at a non-military event.
To date, CBP has more than ten mission Certificates of Authorization in
place, including two that account for approximately 1,200 miles along the
U.S.-Mexico border and another that stretches 950 miles along the northern
border from Spokane, Wash., to the vicinity of Lake-of-the-Woods, Minn.
 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) is the unified
border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the
management, control and protection of U.S.' borders at and between official
ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out
of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.
For more information contact:
- Gina Gray, CBP Public Affairs, (202) 325-4284
- Kimberly Kasitz, Public
Relations Manager, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., +1.858.312.2294