Security invasion has gone beyond borders, making countries establish specialized agencies in order to deal with such threats. These agencies depend on technology to help them respond to such threats. On the other hand, security management has gone beyond the placement of guards at specific positions, to the deployment of intelligent and self-propelled vehicles known as unmanned aerial vehicles. This utilizes an unmanned aerial systems technology. The unmanned aerial vehicle is a technology that assists in monitoring in order control an issue (Valvanis, 2010). These vehicles come in different configurations, either as fixed wing or rotary wing type vehicles. This technology has the capability of combating crime as well as assist in homeland security activities. Some of these vehicles include the tethered aerostat, MQ-9 Predator B, and the Shadow. The tethered aerostat is a light air balloon that is tethered on the ground. The system can accommodate payloads of up to 400 pounds while at the same time is very stable and supports rapid deployment. A tethered aerostat vehicle costs around 1 million US dollars and is mainly used in surveillance activities, intelligence gathering, border security and situational awareness activities. However despite the capabilities, it is vulnerable in areas with no air traffic control, and low missiles can be directed to it. The technology is also a threat in areas with poor weather conditions, as well as a setback due to border politics, which highlights the stringent immigration policies affecting the countries using the technology. The MQ-9 predator is one of the advanced vehicles that is turbo propelled and a replica of most of the US air force defense planes. It is currently valued at 17 million US dollars, enormous and has more capabilities in terms of cruising speed at higher altitudes and carrying capacity. It is known to carry up to ten missiles (National Academies Press, 2005). Despite the advanced technology, this vehicle is vulnerable to malfunctions in systems and does not have
backup capabilities in such circumstances. On the other hand, its data transmission system can be hacked including radio transmission and video feeds. This is a great security hole that can enable enemies to intercept its communication process, which may lead to sabotage in a military operation. This type of drone creates an effect of a virtual wall and as such, instigates comprehensive economic restrictions by putting in place offensive economic policies. The shadow is priced at $7 million dollars and uses the current avionics technology. It is mostly used in surveillance and assessment of critical activities to the military. It has a suite of sensors and high-resolution camera’s including laser for detecting ground movements. It also has the capability of transmitting real-time data and images to a manned control center, has better fuel efficiency and carrying capacity. The disadvantage is that the shadow has no capability to automate tasks (United States, Government Accountability Office, 2004), in cases where surveillance is unpredictable. It relies on other components such as the ground station, which can be attacked by an enemy. It has been known to bring territorial conflicts and civil war, hence destabilizing governments. They also induce border threats and conflicts, mainly among the US allies who may be opposed to such invasion.Conclusion This technology plays an important role in surveillance and border protection. However, numerous threats can curtail military operations but ultimately, it is a technology for this century. The following features give the shadow an upper hand and can easily be used in homeland security efforts. 1. The shadow uses the latest technology in aviation, with excellent capabilities, such as high-resolution sensors that can help to detect secret activities.2. It has an advanced data management capability which is critical in mission critical activities. This is because data is very key in any operation.3. The four components in the operation of the shadow make it impossible for a mission to fail, due to the support from both air and ground.
International Symposium on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Valavanis, K., Beard, R. W., Oh, P. Y., Ollero, A., Piegl, L. A., & Shim, H. (2010). Selected papers from the 2nd international symposium on UAVs, Reno, Nevada, U.S.A., June 8-10, 2009. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
National Research Council (U.S.). (2005). Autonomous vehicles in support of naval operations. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
United States., & United States. (2004). Defense acquisitions: Assessments of major weapon programs : report to Congressional committees. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office.