Drones to patrol Mexican border

From LA’s NBC4-TV, Nov. 2:

FORT HUACHACA, Ariz. — The federal government has unveiled a new multimillion-dollar gadget to patrol and protect the U.S.-Mexican border.

It’s an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV. The high-tech plane, typically used in military combat, has become an important tool in the border war.

At Fort Huachaca, this brand new plane takes off. Its primary mission is to secure the border and prevent acts of terrorism.

It’s an unmanned plane flown by remote control. Called the Predator, it’s designed for surveillance like nothing else.

“You can see someone carrying a backpack from an altitude of 19,000 feet.”

It’s kind of like a big video game. The pilots fly the aircraft inside one trailer. And in another border patrol agents watch the video feed for any illegal activity

When they spot something, they send agents on the ground to make arrests, though there is somewhat of a learning curve.

“It takes awhile because sometimes you think it’s a person but it’s a rock.”

Earlier this month, a similar unmanned plane crashed near the post. The government says pilot error is to blame, And it’s worked out some bugs to hopefully prevent another crash.

“Better training. Looking at abnormal procedures. Making sure we’re using checklists making sure we’re going through proper procedures to take care of a situation that’s abnormal.”

It’s one more tool in the government’s vision of a secure border.

See our last posts on the border crisis, domestic drone surveillance and the surveillance state.