KGUN TV, TUCSON, MAY 2, 2004
"A new aircraft is taking border security to new heights. Maria Neider shows us the Border Hawk now has a new toy - night vision."
Maria Neider, KGUN TV reporter: "It's dusk in the desert, just south of Sierra Vista, a time when border traffic picks up under the shadow of night. But now the American Border Patrol has built the Border Hawk, an aircraft that sees through the darkness with an infra red camera that sees through the darkness to search and record foot traffic."
Mike King, American Border Patrol: "We are looking for what we refer to as SBIs, and what SBIs are are suspected border intruders - somebody that has come across. We're not in a position to identify them as illegal or not, so we just look for a group of people walking north and call the Border Patrol and have them go check it out."
Jerry Deebach, American Border Patrol: "We're set."
King:"We manually launch it, get it up to a safe altitude and then we turn it over to the autopilot and let the autopilot take over."
Neider: "The Border Hawk's thermal imaging system captures potential border crossers by detecting body heat. You can see me right here through the black and white camera"(image of Neider through Border Hawk's infra red camera). But it's more difficult to detect activity from 500 feet in the sky. Take a close look at this video from April 21st. The white cluster of dots is a group of at least six people walking toward the U.S. border. Then just forty five minutes later, the Border Hawk catches a line of fifteen more suspected border crossers."
"On the ground the crew monitors the plane's flight from a control center, controlling hot spots where foot traffic triggers strategically placed sensors."
Mike Christie, American Border Patrol. "So, when a sensor does go off, what we have is the ability to send that aircraft from wherever it is, directly to that spot."
Neider: "It's up to the U.S. Border Patrol to investigate the situation and take the immigrants into custody."
Glenn Spencer, American Border Patrol: "Our goal is to have clusters of these UAVs along America's borders flying twenty four hours a day, seven days a week."
Neider: "Maria Neider, KGUN 9 news."