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  Robot aircraft keeping watch over Texas border

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Alley_Oop Mod/Admin
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PostSubject: Robot aircraft keeping watch over Texas border   Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:54 am

So this is why all the kids were learning to sharpen their video game skills for all these years!!! OMG! Big Brother is watching you from somewhere!! LMAO!!!


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CORPUS CHRISTI — Corpus Christi is known for the scenic view acrossthe bay. But now it will also be known for the new view from the skyover the Texas-Mexico border.U.S. Customs and Border Protection rolled out the first Texas-basedPredator drone that will fly from the Naval Air Station here.The pilotless craft is designed to fly for 20 hours on one tank of fuel.The Predator joins three others based in Arizona to provide full coverage over the Southwest U.S. border.The Corpus-based drone will watch an 800-mile stretch of the Texas-Mexico border, from the Rio Grande Valley to Big Bend.In the the command center on the ground, a pilot and co-pilot flythe Predator and guide its powerful cameras and radar by remote control."It allows us to have somewhat of a standoff and operate with a higher degree of accuracy," said pilot Drew Gellerson.The Predator is capable of tracking suspicious vehicles that are 12miles away. Its infrared camera can pick up subjects crossing theborder while personnel coordinate CBP vehicles and a manned helicopterto catch them.The drone carries highly sensitive radar, too."We were able detect a cut in the steel fence a quarter inch; it wasmade by a blow torch," said David Gasho, director of air operations atthe CPB's Unmanned Systems Center. "Based on that change detection, wetold Border Patrol something significant happened here. They went outthere and told us — sure enough — they had cut a portion of the fenceout, and they just stood it right back up."While the Predator is in the air, back on the ground the politicaldebate goes on regarding just porous the U.S.-Mexico border really is.Both candidates for governor — incumbent Republican Rick Perry andDemocratic challenger Bill White — are critical of the federalgovernment's effort to secure the border.But the Obama administration says there are 21,000 Border Patrolagents on the Southwest border, double the number standing guard sixyears ago. More are on the way."It is undeniable that this border is safer and more secure thanit's ever been," said Customs and Border Protection Commissioner AlanBersin.The Predator now based in Texas may not be the last. The $600million border security bill just approved provides for two moredrones, and another could be assigned to the state.From Corpus Christi, the view of the border is much sharper.

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