Homeland Security drone patrolling NNY

Homeland Security drone patrolling NNY

6/18/09<br />Unmanned aircraft temporarily based at Fort Drum this month...
The "cockpit" in ground-based operatons trailer from which the Predator is flown (John Moore, NewsWatch50)
The "cockpit" in ground-based operatons trailer from which the Predator is flown (John Moore, NewsWatch50)
The tail of the Predator (John Moore, NewsWatch50)
The tail of the Predator (John Moore, NewsWatch50)
 (John Moore, NewsWatch50)
(John Moore, NewsWatch50)
A monitor inside an operations trailer shows a close-up view of a boat skimming across the water on Lake Ontario.

The image was taken from an unmanned aircraft more than three miles away.

A Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has been temporarily based at Fort Drum since early June in an experiment by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office.

The Department of Homeland Security is using the extensive restricted air space over Fort Drum to test whether the drone could be a good fit along this stretch of the northern border.
Video of a boat on Lake Ontario captured from 19,000 feet above (John Moore, NewsWatch50)
Video of a boat on Lake Ontario captured from 19,000 feet above (John Moore, NewsWatch50)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has five of the aircraft but so far none of them based permanently in the Northeast.

The Predator will operate out of Fort Drum for about three weeks for testing and training, and to evaluate its use to law enforcement.

John Stanton, director of CPB's Office of Air and Marine, said state, provincial and local law enforcement agencies were quick to take up the offer of added surveillance of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

"So while we were flying, we were asked by our partner law enforcement agencies if we would be kind enough to be on the lookout for suspicious activities," Stanton said.

The surveillance also includes the land border between the U.S. and Canada after the border peels away from the St. Lawrence River.

By flying in restricted air space at 19,000 feet, the Predator avoids lower-level air traffic, cutting the risk of collisions, Stanton said.

The aircraft is virtually identical to Predators used by the military, with the exception of lower-power engine and no weapons, he said.

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