The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is getting $32 million to buy two more surveillance drones to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.
CBP Photo by Gerald L. Nino
Money for two General Atomics Predator B unmanned aircraft systems is included in a supplemental $600 million border security appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama today (Aug. 13).
The unmanned aircraft will go to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security unit, for long-duration surveillance of the rugged desert territory between official ports of entry into the southwestern U.S.
The new aircraft will join seven Predators already being operated by CBP's Air and Marine Office. One is based at Grand Forks, North Dakota to patrol the border with Canada. Two more based in Florida and Texas are maritime variants, known as Guardian, with Raytheon's SeaVue maritime radar and other sensors to track small, fast-moving surface vessels. The remaining Predators are based at Sierra Vista, Arizona, close to the Mexican border.
Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer wrote Obama in May requesting the deployment of National Guard troops and helicopters as well as more unmanned surveillance aircraft to help stem the flow across the border of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico and drug money and guns from the U.S. Texas lawmakers also pressed for a drone to patrol the area around El Paso.