Customs spends $100M to spot ultralight smugglers

The Homeland Security Department has awarded a $100 million contract to a company to build sensors for spotting drug smugglers flying ultralight aircraft, according to the Wired Dangerroom blog.

Under the contract, SRCTec, a not-for-profit contractor in New York, will provide sensors that can spot small aircraft flying as low as 33 feet off the ground.

The number of smugglers using these small, light planes is growing. In 2011, DHS Customs and Border Protection said it detected 223 flights, double from 2009, the Dangerroom reported.

The ultralight sensor work had been part of the Secure Border Initiative, which was cancelled. DHS is in the process of awarding a contract for a new virtual border fence with Mexico.

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