Israeli-Made Drones Patrol U.S. Border


Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) made by an Israeli company were assigned to Arizona border patrol in an effort to secure a 350-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border that is the most popular and deadliest corridor for illegal immigrants. The Hermes 450 drones, made by Elbit Systems, are part of a Department of Homeland Security initiative to prevent Mexicans from crossing illegally into the United States. The drones also will be useful in locating people who get into trouble in the desert and need to be rescued.

In addition to the Hermes drones, U.S. Army is using the Israel Aircraft Industries Hunter UAV equipped with electro-optical infrared sensors along the U.S. border with Mexico to detect drug smugglers and illegal aliens. Because it can fly for 12 hours and has a low visual profile, it was able to locate bands of drug smugglers without their knowledge and relay their location back to U.S. Border Patrol agents. Northrop Grumman, which is marketing the UAVs, has also converted the Hunter to fire rockets, thus turning it into a killer drone.

Sources: Reuters, (June 25, 2004); Jerusalem Post, (December 22, 2004)