Serving Various Purposes
By Dialogo July 01, 2010
The efficacy of the missions conducted by UAVs during the current war in
Afghanistan and the second war in Iraq demonstrated the possibilities of this
equipment and created interest in its use in visible-policing operations.
The U.S. pioneered the use of UAVs for this purpose in 2003, when UAVs
conducted border-patrol missions for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They were
also used in the surveillance of both the U.S. land border with Mexico and the
coastal zone of the Gulf of Mexico, where three models of UAVs were employed: the
Hermes, the Hunter and the Predator B, which remain in operation.
UAVs were also used on U.S. territory for search-and-rescue actions in New
Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On this oc- casion, two UAVs were used, one
fixed-wing named Evolution Eye, a model similar to the Dragon Eye used by the U.S.
Marine Corps during the Iraq campaign, and one rotary-wing named T-Rex. Both were
equipped with TV cameras, GPS and infrared sensors allowing the monitoring of the
devastated areas so as to guide land-rescue teams in the middle of the hurricane
UAVs are beginning to be used in a wider range of applications, such as
police surveillance in urban areas; surveillance in border/frontier areas;
inspection of pipelines (oil, electrical and gas); and surveying forest resources.
Monitoring activities conducted by UAVs range from agricultural harvests,
fires and deforestation to roads and routes used by police helicopters in sensitive
areas. Surveil- lance of chemical and industrial complexes and port areas, as well
as support for intelligence activities and crisis management, have been key UAV
activities. UAVs have also been used for communications purposes such as coverage by
The potential civil and military applications of the UAV are made more
compelling by the advantages of lower operational costs when compared with