Customs, Coast Guard to test new maritime drone
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it took delivery Monday of a prototype drone aircraft designed to patrol the ocean to search for drugs and illegal immigrant smugglers or other criminal activity.
CBP already has five of the Predator B drones used to patrol the land borders with Mexico and Canada, but the new maritime version, called Guardian, has modifications including radar and a optical-infrared sensor optimized for maritime operations.
CBP, in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, will test the aircraft early next year from Cape Canaveral, then deploy it to support joint counter-narcotics operations.
Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said drones “will help us counter threats like narcotics and migrant smuggling, terrorism and piracy in the vast expanses of the maritime domain.”