Hermes 450 UAV's flying in support
of border security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced the first
sustained civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to curb
illegal activities along Arizona’s southern border. Two
Hermes 450 UAVs will be used as part of the Arizona Border Control
Initiative to assist with border surveillance activities and
augments manned aircraft, helicopters and ground sensors already in
place. The UAV flights will be controlled and monitored by
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol and are
scheduled to operate through the summer of 2004.
The UAVs are equipped with electro-optic sensors and
communications payloads which provide around-the-clock images to
CBP Border Patrol agents. These aerial vehicles permit greater
border coverage and quicker response times in the rugged, desolate
areas of the Southwest border. The UAV launch is a significant,
cooperative effort among DHS’s Border and Transportation
Security directorate. Hundreds of law enforcement officers
from local, state, tribal and federal agencies in Arizona,
including personnel from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, CBP,
U.S. Border Patrol, and the Transportation Security Administration
are working in close cooperation with the Department of Interior
and Department of Defense to ensure this technology’s success
under the ABC Initiative.
"The development of UAVs in protecting the borders of the U.S.
demonstrates the commitment this Administration has to testing new
technologies and systems to better secure America. This is another
example of the Department's support to gain operational control of
the Arizona border,” said Under Secretary for Border and
Transportation Security Asa Hutchinson.
The ABC Initiative is a first-of-its-kind effort to achieve an
even safer and more secure Southwest border. It supports the
priority mission of Homeland Security agencies to detect and deter
terrorist activities and cross-border illegal trafficking of people
Hermes 450 FAQ
The success of the Arizona Border Control Initiative (ABC) is
contingent on impairing and stopping the smuggling organizations
that transport human cargo across the border. To assist
state, local and federal elements in their efforts, U.S. Customs
and Border Protection has begun using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are
both an important part of the smarter border strategy and an
essential element of the Arizona Border Control Initiative. The
UAVs permit greater border coverage and quicker response times in
rugged, desolate areas of the southwest border.
This is the first non-military use of UAVs for border
protection. The Hermes 450 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) will
supplement ground security efforts with a live video feed of
potential illegal smuggling as it occurs.
The use of UAVs will complement the other intrusion detection
and intelligence gathering components of the border surveillance
network to meet the mission of stopping the illegal entry of
terrorists, smugglers and others into the United States.
UAVs equipped with sophisticated on-board sensors have the
potential to provide unparalleled surveillance capability.
This capability will provide CBP Border Patrol agents a
“birds eye view” of smuggling and allow them to quickly
refocus resources to apprehend people illegally entering the
country. UAVs will also contribute to enforcement effectiveness and
officer safety by providing communications links for coordinating
multiple units on the ground is important in remote border
UAVs provide long-range surveillance. As a result, they are
especially effective force-multipliers because they have the
capacity to remain on station much longer than other airborne
assets, and are particularly useful for monitoring remote land
border areas where patrols cannot easily travel and infrastructure
is difficult or impossible to build.
- The UAV is equipped with electro-optic sensors and
communications payloads providing day and night imagery.
- It is equipped with a communication capability used by ground
control stations to communicate, which is a law enforcement officer
safety and a communications/coordination requirement.
- The Hermes 450 is a single engine system with advanced
composite structure and optimized aerodynamics. Advanced avionics
enable autonomous flights and precise GPS navigation.
- The UAV is equipped with sophisticated communication systems
transferring imagery in real-time to ground control stations.
- Up to 20 hours of flight endurance
- Reaches ceiling of 18,000 feet (operating at approximately
- Maximum air speed: 95 knots (125 miles per hour)
- Cruise speed: 70 knots (91 miles per hour)
- Built as a high wing, V-tail optimal aerodynamic
- Light composite structure
- Redundant flight computer avionics and power supply
- Fully autonomous flight with in-flight redirection