Drones on the home front
Unmanned aircraft, which have already revolutionized warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, are entering U.S. airspace. While drones have already been used to patrol the border and track forest fires, their most controversial use may be as surveillance tools for federal, state and local law enforcement.
Learn more about four types of drones
used in domestic surveillance:
The micro air vehicle can be deployed vertically in less than 10 minutes and carry up to 20 pounds of equipment to capture 24 minutes of high-quality video. It is used by the Miami-Dade County, Fla., Police Department.
Watch video of a T-Hawk in flight:
Endurance: 50 minutes
Max. altitude: 10,000 feet
Max. speed: 46 mph
Propulsion: Gasoline piston engine
The T-Hawk is approximately two feet tall and weighs 17.5 pounds.
The hand-launched micro-drone can be remotely operated or fly a programmed flight plan. It has two high-resolution cameras and an infrared imager. It is used by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Watch video of the Wasp:
Endurance: 45 minutes
Max. altitude: 1,000 feet
Max. speed: 40.3 mph
Propulsion: Propeller powered by a small electrical motor
The Wasp is more than one foot long, has a wingspan of 2.3 feet and weighs less than one pound.
The remotely operated miniature helicopter is designed to carry wireless video, still cameras and light thermal imaging equipment. It is used by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Office.
Watch video of the Draganflyer X6:
Endurance: 20 minutes
Max. altitude: 8,000 feet
Max. speed: 30 mph
Propulsion: Six propellers powered by 14.8 V electrical motors
The Draganflyer is three feet wide and nearly as long, and it weighs 53 ounces.
The aircraft can carry a wide array of surveillance equipment and be piloted remotely or be programmed to fly a set flight plan. It is being used by the Department of Homeland Security to patrol the U.S. border.
The Predator B
has a wingspan of
66 feet and a
length of 36 feet.
Endurance: 30 hours
Max. altitude: 50,000 feet
Max. speed: 243 mph
Payload: Up to 3,000 pounds
Propulsion: Single TPE-331-10 turboprop engine
GRAPHIC: Alberto Cuadra and Kat Downs / The Washington Post - Jan. 23, 2011.