CBP to Deploy Anti-Drone Bubbles Along U.S.-Mexico Border

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The agency is fielding six counter-drone systems along the southern border and might soon deploy more, according to the vendor.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is putting up an invisible bubble along the southern border to stop drug-smuggling drones mid-flight.

The agency signed a nearly $1.2 million contract with Citadel, a company that develops systems to counter unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones. The company will provide CBP with six Titan Counter Drone defense systems, according to a CBP spokesperson.

The kits include a signal box that deploys a 3-km “bubble” around a protected area and a monitor to identify and alert the user to any drones entering that airspace. Any drones entering the bubble are commandeered by the system and set safely on the ground.

According to Citadel, the signal intelligence and targeted jamming tool can be deployed within three minutes.

The company says its system uses artificial intelligence to stay on top of new drone technologies. Along with the physical systems, the CBP contract also includes 12 months of software upgrades, support and training, as well as a one-year warranty.

“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 said in a release. “Citadel's automated solution provides front-line operators with awareness of drone threats and decision-making to respond faster than the adversary.”

While the initial rollout is limited to six systems, Williams told Nextgov the contract could expand in the future.

“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.”