Skip to comments.Spy plane flies last patrol on border
Posted on 02/01/2005 6:19:09 PM PST by Marine Inspector
An unmanned spy plane that helped catch drug smugglers and illegal immigrants in Arizona flew its last mission for the Border Patrol on Monday.
David Edwards, a manager for the private company that operates the RQ-5 Hunter vehicle, said Border Patrol agents and other team members were "sad" the government let the projects contract expire.
"Were disappointed because were residents of Sierra Vista and taxpayers," said Edwards, an employee of Northrop Grumman Corp. "We saw it as a very positive event in the border control wars."
The Hunter flew out of Fort Huachucas Libby Army Airfield, usually from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and was supported by a ground crew of up to 10 people, mission commander Jimmy Vargas said. Officials said the plane, which can be armed with missiles, will go back to supporting military operations in Iraq and elsewhere.
The unmanned vehicle plane program was touted last March by federal officials as part of a new border plan to quell smuggling and deter terrorists. In September, the Hunter replaced an Israelimade Hermes vehicle that had flown since June 24.
Mario Villarreal of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C., said last week that money remained in the programs $10 million budget, but the vehicles would be grounded indefinitely to evaluate their effectiveness. They may return in the future, he said.
That's hardly fair. We have troops on Iraqs borders. It's important because we live in an age of terrorism.
By that reasoning, I guess it's time to pull the BP's out of the border crossing stations too... you know, to evaluate their effectiveness. Stinks all around, and deteriorates by the hour.
This is hilarious. I helped test the Hunter to destruction ten years ago. It went on to do great things in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Scratching my head over just what test results they want to analyze...
"Scratching my head over just what test results they want to analyze..."
They're attempting to analyze how many political points they lose by stopping PR inspired attempts at border security.
If tests reveal few or no political points lost, look for more lip service and less actual security at our nation's borders.
This admins handling of our border security just pisses me off more as the days pass. First the non-funding of 2000 BP now this. And all after Mexico printed Anti-American books and its government proposed having Arizona's voter approved Prop. 200 overturned by the International Court. Yep, we know right where Bush's priorities are and it sure isn't the Homeland.
You are correct. I observed their testing of the Hermes as well and they were using tactics that were about useless. This is a target rich environment along the border, but they were usually floating around way north of the line -- say about 15 miles.
I'd bet it was way to effective and they are analyzing how to get rid of the program.
You would think that we would have learned our lesson from the 1st term.
I don't think anybody has illusions about Bush's communitarian blind spot re immigration. It's the arrogance of his refusal to enforce the law, while trying to implement his preferences, to which I object.
Tyranny has to be something close to this.
I'd bet they're way worried about having the true scope of the number of gotaways becoming public knowledge. The infrared capabilities of that bird are awesome.
Actually, it gets considerably worse.
"Mario Villarreal of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C., said last week that money remained in the programs $10 million budget, but the vehicles would be grounded indefinitely to evaluate their effectiveness. They may return in the future, he said."
I can think of a few other government programs I'd like to see suspended indefinitely to evaluate their effectiveness.