A new report from Defense One shows the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is installing an invisible shield along President Trump's Mexico-US border wall that will deny access to drug smuggling drones.
CBP recently signed a $1.2 million deal with Citadel Defense Company to install an automated, invisible defense shield at the border to detect and engage unwanted drones using proprietary machine learning algorithms.
The contract is for six systems, and each will provide a 1.8-mile hemisphere of protection horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically on an unknown part of the wall. This contract is likely a pilot run, and if the results exceed expectations, more systems could be deployed across the border.
According to Citadel, the "autonomous, artificial intelligence-enabled counter-drone solution" is essentially a drone jamming tool that can easily be deployed within minutes. The system monitors the airspace above, can commandeer a drone's navigation system and reroute its path back to its home base or safely land it on the ground.
The contract includes 12 months of software upgrades, support, and training, said Defense One.
"Drones have become a greater challenge along the border. Our nation's border agents deserve the safest and most advanced technology available," Citadel CEO Christopher Williams. "Citadel's automated solution provides front-line operators with an awareness of drone threats and decision-making to respond faster than the adversary."
Williams said the initial rollout is for six systems, collectively can provide a hemisphere of protection of about 11 miles.
"Technology is being deployed in limited quantities in 2019 after months of testing and validation," he said. "Following 2020 presidential budget decisions, the potential for additional systems at larger quantities will be explored."
Shown below are several examples of drug smuggling drones found on the Mexico-US border.