As the Red River swells and threatens to flood Fargo, North Dakota, the National Guard is deploying and residents are preparing to flee. Overhead, monitoring the unfolding crisis, is a bule-and-gray painted Predator B drone (pictured) belonging to Customs and Border Protection.
CBP’s Predator B, called Reaper in Air Force service, flies from Grand Forks in North Dakota and carries TV and infrared cameras plus a mapping radar. CBP’s John Stanton says the border service had to request Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly its drone in national airspace, which the FAA provided in two days’ time. “We consider that responsive,” Stanton said, adding that, if required, he could get approval in just 45 minutes.
Customs and Border Protection has six Predators for surveillance work.