Customs And Border
Protection Receives Fourth Predator-B In Arizona
By Shane Nolan
December 28, 2011 - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
received an unmanned aircraft on Tuesday, the fourth at
National Air Security Operations Center in Sierra Vista,
Ariz. Flights performed from this location will provide
critical aerial surveillance to CBP border security
personnel on the ground along the Southwest border. The
arrival of the Predator-B marks the second of two
unmanned aircraft earmarked in the supplemental budget
provisions identified in August 2010.
The Predator B is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) for use by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the CIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Royal Air Force, and the Italian Air Force.
The Predator B and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the U.S. Air Force to indicate their human ground controllers. The Predator B is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.
unmanned aircraft systems operate under several FAA-approved
Certificates of Authorization that enable CBP to deploy a UAS in
the national airspace. On the southwest border, the first
certificate allows access into Texas from Arizona to just west
of the Big Bend border area. The second certificate enables CBP
to launch and recover a UAS from Naval Air Station Corpus
Christi, Texas, and to operate along the entire Texas land
border with Mexico, the coast, and over open water.
southwest border, CBP now operates a total of six Predator-B
aircraft from Sierra Vista, and Corpus Christi. The missions
from these two centers will allow CBP to deploy its unmanned
aircraft from the eastern tip of California across the common
Mexican land borders of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
identified Arizona as a location for its ninth UAS because it
will allow for the greatest support of the CBP Air and Marine
Strategic Plan to secure the shared land border between U.S. and
Mexico, and will allow for the most effective execution of
counter-drug operations and Homeland Security missions.
Additionally, basing a fourth UAS in Sierra Vista will best
posture CBP for rapid deployment throughout the southern tier of
the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere. This operational capability
increases CBP?s ability to provide disaster relief and
humanitarian support in the Gulf Coast region.
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