Military-style drones set to patrol coastline

Unmanned military-style drones like those used by British troops in Afghanistan could soon be used to help combat illegal immigration and drug smugglers along Britain's coastlines.

Unlike manned police helicopters, which can fly for a maximum of a few hours, the UAS have the capability to stay in the air for up to 15 hours.

BAE Systems confirmed today it was working with the two police forces as part of the South Coast Partnership, which also includes the UK Border Agency, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Marine and Fisheries Agency. The aim is to introduce them by 2012.

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