Defence & Security News - United States
|Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:42 AM|
First Unmanned Aerial Vehicle UAV Predator B of United States to patrol border with Canada.
The first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) started patrolling the Manitoba portion of Canada's border with the U.S. after a launch ceremony was held on Monday, October 14, 2013. Based at a military facility in Grand Forks, N.D., the $10-million Predator B drone aircraft are equipped with sensors capable of detecting a moving person from 10 kilometres away.
An MQ-1B Predator of U.S. Air Force taxis out to the runway for a routine push off mission Aug. 3, 2010, at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The UAV is able to fly at an altitude of 6,000 metres and can remain in the air for 18 hours.
Predator B will gather information as they fly along
the 400-kilometre border and transmit it to operators who will in turn
contact border agents. The drones will not carry weapons, such as missiles
or laser-guided bombs, and thhe U.S. will need permission to send them
into in Canadian airspace.
U.S. authorities are concerned that the border has areas that could potentially be exploited by drug smugglers, migrants and terrorists.
"They will try to find the weakest link, and the weakest link is clearly the long border between the U.S. and Canada," North Dakota Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan said. "It's very hard to patrol every square mile."
RCMP Staff Sgt. Ron Obodzinski said the surveillance planes will be a big help in the fight against the smuggling of drugs, alcohol and people.
"The program is going to enhance our relationship between our American partners and the Canadian agencies," he said.
U.S. border protection official Michael Kostelnik said that in these "dangerous times," it's more important than ever for both countries to know who and what is crossing the border.
"There are vast parts of the border where, on any given day, we're not sure what's going on, so part of this is to try to deal with the unknown and not be surprised," Kostelnik said.
Similar drones patrol the skies in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UAVs are also used along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Monday's drone launch comes a day before Janet Napolitano, the new secretary of U.S. Homeland Security, is to get a review of the security efforts along the Canadian-American border, and just three days before U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit to Canada.
First Unmanned Aerial Vehicle UAV Predator B of United States to patrol border with Canada 1610133
- aa Details
- Published: Wednesday, 16 October 2013 05:45
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