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 response efforts.
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.
-In June 2009, OAM conducted a successful surge operation to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, operating from the Army’s Wheeler-Sack airfield at 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.