Monday, December 7, 2009
SAN DIEGO Predator drones may soon be scanning U.S. waters for smugglers.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it's buying two Predator B aircraft for sea patrols. The models to be rolled out Monday at the manufacturer's plant in Palmdale have radar sensors that can detect boats. They could be in action early next year.
Agency officials say one will be tested in the Caribbean, with a base in Florida, but it could be used to aid patrols in the San Diego area.
A second Predator will be based in Corpus Christi, Texas, for use in the Gulf of Mexico.
The remote-controlled drones will look for smugglers of drugs and illegal immigrants.
A different Predator version already is used for land patrols in Arizona and North Dakota.