U.S. Customs Grounds Drone Fleet

Jan 29, 2014 No Comments by

Drones used to monitor U.S. borders and ports were grounded after an operator ditched one of the unmanned aircraft off the California coast due to a mechanical failure.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection craft went into the Pacific Ocean about 11:15 p.m. local time on Jan. 27 around 20 miles southwest of San Diego, Michael Friel, an agency spokesman, said in an e-mail yesterday. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, Keith Holloway, a spokesman, said in an interview.

The crew operating the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. Predator B, modified for maritime environments, put it into the water after determining it couldn’t reach its home base in Sierra Vista, Arizona, Friel said.

For the complete story by Alan Levin and Jeff Plungis of Bloomberg Businessweek, click here.

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