UAV to patrol U.S. northern border in January

Published 9 December 2008

The first UAV is expected to begin patrolling the U.S.-Canada border in January

After two failed tries, a UAV expected to be the first to patrol the northern U.S. border completed a flight from Arizona to North Dakota. U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said the Predator B drone touched down 6 December at the Grand Forks Air Force Base after a six-hour flight from Libby Army Airfield in Sierra Vista, Arizona. “The aviators all brag about the perfect landing,” said Michael Corcoran, deputy director for air operations at CBP’s Air and Marine office in Grand Forks. “I guess we’ll brag about this one, as well,” he said. reports that the drone is scheduled to begin patrolling the northern U.S. border in January. Its flights will originate from the Grand Forks base. Officials were waiting for clearance on air space before deciding on a schedule, Corcoran said. An earlier flight on Thursday was canceled because of maintenance problems, and a flight Friday was aborted because of poor weather.

The Predator weighs 5 tons, has a 66-foot wingspan, and can fly undetected as high as 50,000 feet. It can fly for 28 hours at a time and will be equipped with sensors and radar. The drone has been in use along the southern border with Mexico since 2005.