Skip to comments.[Texas:]DPS flies $7.4 million spy plane to the border
Posted on 01/14/2014 10:27:33 AM PST by SwinneySwitch
SAN ANTONIO Texas Department of Public Safety pilots flew the fancy $7.4 million high-altitude spy plane equipped with $1 million worth of surveillance cameras from San Antonio to Fort Stockton Friday, according to a flight tracker.
The purchase of the Swiss-made aircraft by DPS was largely uncovered by media outlets in 2012. But as controversies surrounding drones and the National Security Agency continue to balloon, more focus is being shifted toward government-run spy programs.
The plane, purchased from Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft Ltd., is jam-packed with military-style features including high-resolution and thermal imaging surveillance cameras, a $300,000 downlink system allowing the crew to send real-time footage anywhere in the state. As a bonus, the package also came with four night-vision goggles worth about $60,000.
The plane, known as the Pilatus PC-12 NG Spectre, has one engine and has a pressurized cabin allowing it to fly up to 30,000 feet in the air.
According to the DPS, the plane is being used for surveillance and assisting operations along the US-Mexico border. The aircraft has also been used to support emergency situations, such as the central Texas flooding in 2013.
The spy plane took off from San Antonio at 10:25 a.m. and is scheduled to land in Fort Stockton an hour and 17 minutes later, with an altitude of 16,000 feet, according to the flight tracker.
A DPS spokesman confirmed the purpose of the flight Friday afternoon.
"The DPS Pilatus and a DPS helicopter assisted Border Patrol ground personnel in Terrell County today in locating two subjects suspected of firing a weapon during an incident with law enforcement earlier today. Border Patrol agents apprehended the two subjects," the spokesman said.
I have concerns about any government agency using such surveillance in the US.
As some have said before, “Don’t get stopped for a misdemeanor when you have a felony in the passenger seat.”
You mean they are going to actually spy on illegal aliens rather than law abiding Americans?
Wow! Shocks the heck outta me.
All they need to do is pay for gas and rental and provide a camera package and Texas’ General Aviation air force will fly border patrols for free!
Texas took possession of the plane on May 10, 2013......
On May 23rd, the new PC-12 NG was commissioned at a formal
ceremony in Austin, TX.
In that ceremony, the new aircraft was named in honor of the late Texas Ranger
Bobby Paul Doherty, who was killed in the line of duty in 1978.
This plane, named in honor of Texas Ranger Bobby Doherty, will provide a vital
capability in supporting and advancing the same mission he lived by to serve
and protect Texas and it will further ensure that his legacy continues to
live on for years to come, said DPS Director Steven McCraw.
The Bobby Doherty will be stationed in San Antonio, with the primary duties of
supporting local agencies along the Texas-Mexico border. The multi-purpose
PC-12 NG will also be used for a variety of public safety missions across Texas,
including transporting medical equipment, supplies and response teams during
a disaster; aerial observation support; and serving as an aerial command center.
The addition of the PC-12 NG brings the fleet of aircraft that the Texas Department
of Public Safety operates up to 9 fixed wing aircraft and 15 helicopters.
Texas is expanding it’s capabilities on many fronts:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Now Has a SWAT Team
Texas Parks and Wildlife Now Has a SWAT Team
Well, you need to consider... The Coyote Principle to understand from these examples:
The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor's dog, then bites the Governor.
The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects on his PETA supporting humanity and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.
He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.
The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.
The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.
The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a “coyote awareness program” for residents of the area.
The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the
The Governor's security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training on the nature of coyotes.
PETA protests the coyote's relocation and files a $5 million suit against the state.
An Obama appointed Federal Judge finds for PETA, adding $25 million to their judgement award because of the apparent inadvertent negligence of the well meaning Governor of California.
The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and tries to attacks his dog.
The Governor shoots the coyote with his pistol and keeps jogging with his dog. The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.
The buzzards eat the dead coyote.
And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not.
So we here in the Lone Star State... can afford the damn plane and put it to good use 'cause those liberal fugers up in DC sure are not going to stop illegals from coming into the country!
PC-12 is a great airplane.
BUT, the U.S. has a huge stock of aircraft at AMARC in Tucson which could be used to provide RC-12 or other COIN/RECON aircraft for next to nothing.
And having said that, the criminal invasion of the United States by the citizens of Mexico and associated drug smugglers should be stopped by any means necessary including full military opposition.
The usa gmint is the cartel..make sense now?
Probably there to make sure Americans don’t harass or slow the illegals.
The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.
It was a .380 Auto
I flew in one of those in September from Houston to San Antonio. Nice planes...a lot cheaper than a jet.
Just inside the engagement envelope of an SA-18/SA-24 Grouse smuggled into Mexico.
Actually Bender I know what kind of dog Jerry Brown has
He has Welsh Corgi seriously you know Queen Elizabeth little mutts LOL!
The Queen, much to my surprise, is a very talented dog-trainer, of all breeds... so we gotta cut her SOME slack.
Used to fly with these guys in 67/68 if they were headed where I was going. Usually between Saigon, Vung Tau, Baria, and Ham Tan. Nice guys, didn’t know at the time why they were there.
Got to fly one of their helos from Tam Ky to Hill 29 in I Corps. Civilian pilots recruited by the CIA, they did a lot of great work.
Personally, I would rather that they got a couple of A-10’s. Instead of taking pictures, just make some “markers” on the ground.
It was a .380, not a .45.
Gadzooks! You... are right!
Well, I must confess I am such as .45 fan... I just cannot see carrying anything else--
Seven, as to Jerry Brown's hound, it is not the dog's fault... their owner is a jucking ferk--
Some people just love to take the long route around the barn.
I prefer to turn it into a crater.