Unmanned plane patrolling stretch of Canada-U.S. border

Douglas Quan
Postmedia News
via Canada.com

The remote-controlled Predator B unmanned surveillance aircraft, which can fly for 20 hours up to 15,000 metres in the air. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency announced this month that its Predators will be patrolling greater sections of the Canada-U.S. border - from Minnesota to Washington states - looking for drug smuggling, terrorist and other criminal activity. Photograph by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Photo Handout

A warning to Canadians smuggling batches of “B.C. bud” or other contraband into the United States: Beware the eyes in the sky.

An unmanned plane the U.S. government has been using to patrol North Dakota’s northern border since 2009 is now flying along a greater section of America’s northern frontier, stretching from Spokane, Washington, to the Lake of the Woods region in Minnesota.

Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection say the aircraft can transmit live, streaming video and radar images from above the huge swaths of rugged — and remote — terrain that are a haven for criminals sneaking marijuana and ecstasy into the U.S. and cocaine into Canada.

“We’re trying to work the border smarter, not harder,” said John Priddy, director of National Air Security Operations Center-Grand Forks in North Dakota, where the aircraft is based. “There’s new technology being deployed, which will make it more difficult to conduct illicit activities.”

Resembling a giant mechanical wasp, the remote-controlled Predator B — which has a length of 12 metres and a wingspan of 20 metres — can stay in the air for 20 hours at a time and typically flies at about 6,000 metres.

It is equipped with infrared sensors and ground-movement detectors and can produce radar images showing tire tracks, shoe impressions and anything else that looks out of place.

The article continues at Canada.com

Related links at Canada.com:

Canada, U.S. holding talks on security perimeter, says Harper

No border security deal with the U.S. yet

Canada, U.S. to sign deal on security perimeter

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