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Border Patrol Locks In Multi-Million Dollar Drone Contract

— For years, the U.S. Customs and Border Protections has been on the front lines of domestic drone use. In 2010 alone, drones were credited with leading to the arrests of more than 62,000 illegal immigrants, nearly 2,000 smugglers and more than 800,000 pounds of drugs.

As California Watch reports, a new contract with a San Diego aeronautical company may offer a glimpse into the agency’s hope for the future of drones on the border:

The border agency has locked in a five-year deal with a San Diego-area aeronautical company estimated to be worth as much as $443 million, according to a document posted Nov. 1 on the federal government contracting opportunities website. An estimated $237 million of that would buy up to 14 drones and related equipment. Whether Customs and Border Protection will actually get the money to spend is another question.

Congress hasn’t appropriated funding beyond the 10th drone the agency just received, which will fly from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and the agency hasn’t asked for any more for the 2013 fiscal year.

Funding for a new fleet of border drones is up in the air. However, in the coming years drones may not be as expensive. The drone technological landscape is rapidly changing.

The immersion of drones in the domestic market may drive overall costs lower. Yet, with more hobbyists building drones, it’s only a matter of time before smugglers and border crossers adapt and use the technology themselves.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Roberto Rolando Salinas'

Roberto Rolando Salinas | November 26, 2012 at 1:19 p.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Sheer madness, more sophisticated toys for the boys, for the final leg of militarizing the border. Like the hundreds of billions of wasted tax dollars on the 40-year War on Drugs with no hope of ever winning. Hundreds of millions of dollars now being wasted by Homeland Security to fight a contrived enemy that can't be found and destroyed. An enemy being sought by 250-thousand Mexican soldiers, and 50-thousand Mexican Federal law enforcement agents, using the latest in American technology and assisted by the DEA, FBI, CIA, ICE, and US counterinsurgency elite military units. Just like under the Bush administration and the then Homeland Security Czar, Micheal Chert-off, as head of the agency he approved and ordered 1000's of x-ray machines for TSA to use at airports, we know know they are useless, then when he leaves the agency he goes to work for the company that sold the x-ray machines to Homeland Security. The only winners on the war on drugs and securing the border, are corrupted politicians, lobbyist, and their paymasters, the Military Industrial Complex, bleeding the taxpayer, of the last drop. Shameful, decadent and devoid of decency.

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