DHS Seeks to Detect Ultralight Aircrafts Used by Smugglers
As the war on drugs continues with every sunrise and sunset, DHS has awarded a contract just short of $100 million for a specialized system which will be able to detect ultralight aircrafts which are used to smuggle drugs across the border
As the war on drugs continues with every sunrise and sunset, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded a contract just short of $100 million for a specialized system which will be able to detect ultralight aircrafts which are used to smuggle drugs across the border.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started thinking about such technology more than two years ago. Drug cartels now use slow moving aircrafts that fly at low altitudes, making it hard for radars to detect, in order to transport drugs. The agency has called this “an immediate, high-priority threat” and asked contractors for an existing sensor technology that could enable authorities to identify and monitor low-profile aircraft attempting to smuggle drugs into the United States.
Federal Aviation regulators classify ultralight aircrafts as any aircraft with one seat, weighing up to 254 pounds, and carrying five gallons of fuel.
California Watch reports that last week DHS awarded SRCTec Inc. a $99.9 million dollar contract to produce the system. Officials want the system to be able to track as many as twenty-five “items of interest” at any time and to be capable for deployment in remote areas.
This grant is part of the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) which was launched during the Bush administration and has continued through the Obama administration to use twenty-first-century technology to help officers more readily to identify border crossers and expand the area they could patrol more effectively
Two years ago SBI suffered major setback when a planned “virtual fence” of radars, sensors, and surveillance cameras did not meet expectations. The lead contractor, Boeing, received hundreds of millions of dollars from the program before DHS secretary Janet Napolitano concluded that the fence known as SBInet was hopelessly hobbles by shoddy technology, cost overruns, and missed and delayed deadlines.
The name of the program was dropped but the government continued to fund border surveillance technology, despite years of costly spending that saw little or no success dating back to the Clinton administration.
Authorities have made up for the lack of success with SBInet by using pricey drones that cost between $18 and $20 million each and by using thermal imaging devices in truck beds that help Border Patrol officers track smugglers and illegal crossers at night.
Lawmakers and the president earlier this year approved the last piece of legislation introduced by Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona)., which targeted ultralights, before she was seriously injured in a mass shooting in Tucson in 2011. The Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 seeks to close a legal loophole by stiffening penalties for smugglers who use the aircraft for drug trafficking.
Re: DHS Seeks to Detect Ultralight Aircrafts Used by Smugglers
In May 2011, The Los Angeles Times reported that in the previous fiscal year, ultralights - sometimes with armed pilots - had entered U.S. borders illegally at least 228 times, double the number compared to the year before that.
In just a quick search on Google, I only found 2 untralights that had been downed or crashed. As reported in the "Yuma Sun" in the June 1 edition, only two had been found (both crashed) in the Yuma Sector of Border Patrol. One in late July, 2oo9, carrying 275 pounds of marijuana and the other in November of the previous year, carrying 141 pound (the equivalent of what 2 "mules" on foot could carry in backpacks).
If all 228 illegal border penetrations by ultralights that the LA Times reported for the year 2010 had been carrying marijuana, and if the loads averaged 200 pounds, that would total 45,600 lbs of drugs, or about what one loaded semi could carry.
Throwing $100 Million at developing technology to "detect" ultralights seems to me kind of like using a 12 gauge shotgun to kill a mosquito. No, that is not a good analogy because the 12 gauge would least have a pretty good chance of getting rid of the mosquito. The 100 Million Dollar contract awarded SRCTec Inc. by the government is for technology to "detect" the mosquito, not bring it down.
I know $100,000,000 is just pocket change for the government, but it still seems a cost/benefit analysis might be appropriate.
Just more big dollars to be made by the powers that be in the war on drugs and another 100,000,000 reasons for not trying to win it.
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
Its just another way for DHS to milk the system, Boeing did their best for awhile... now most likely we have some guy whos high up in DHS or one of the alphabet agencies who's got a buddy that owns a company or a cousin or brother in law who wants a turn at milking the system built on paranoia and military solutions for social problems.
*peer into the mind of a politician*"K Lets focus on the small shit so the public will think we're winning the drug war... Dont worry about the TRUCKLOADS that pass thru every day and run tonnes of narcotics allover the country cause we get a cut of those profits.. Its the small stuff we need to sweat over''
Patriotism is a propaganda tool used to make people blind to the lies of their government through unquestioning devotion.