Friday, July 10, 2009

Empire Shield is watching you

US spy aircraft could soon patrol border in BC
Vancouver Sun: Two Predator B aircraft are flying along the North Dakota-Saskatchewan border, with plans to run the aircraft all across the US-Canada border, said Juan Munoz-Torres, a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman from Washington, DC.

'Eventually, we would like to fly them all along the northern border, from Maine to Seattle,' said Munoz-Torres. 'We are probably going to do operations along the border. It's just a matter of time.' ...

Munoz-Torres said the camera capabilities of the Predator are identical to manned aircraft already in use -- the difference is that the Predator can fly for more than 20 hours without stopping, and only requires a crew of two people on the ground to operate it.

In the latest thickening of the international boundary, an unmanned Predator B aircraft was launched last month under a Homeland Security mission code-named Operation Empire Shield, part of the post-9-11 push to secure US borders with advanced technology, from radiation detectors to biometrics...

The June test flights follow new US border security measures unveiled last month, including passport requirements at land border crossings and a planned 45-per-cent increase in US border guards along the northern frontier by 2010.

A civilian version of the armed unmanned aircraft used by the military, the Predator typically flies at up to 250 knots at an altitude of 5,700 metres while carrying up to 1,360 kilograms of sensors for land and maritime surveillance, day or night. It can operate at altitudes of up to 15,000 metres.
Image source here.