More Aircraft, Bigger Operating Area
While the Arizona operation was restricted to a relatively small area, it appears the Canadian border patrols will be larger in both scope and frequency. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, “at first one drone, with more to follow, will span much of the 8,900-kilometre [5,500-mile] frontier Canada and the U.S. share between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.” The newspaper doesn’t give a source for that information. It does, however, quote Scott Baker, the chief patrol agent for Customs and Border Protection in Grand Forks, as saying his small community’s choice as the UAV operation’s home base was strategic. “We're dead center on the northern border," he told the Free Press. "So, they can go either way and they're equidistant pretty much." The Department of Homeland Security is beefing up manned aerial surveillance of the Canadian border, too. Baker said the Grand Forks base will also get 22 pilots to fly airplanes and helicopters on patrols over the border. Similar operations have been or will be set up in Bellingham, Wash.; Great Falls, Mont.; and Plattsburg, N.Y.