Ultralights, Paraplanes and UAVs Detected by Spynel

Spotting Airborne Smugglers Along The US-Mexico Border

HGH Infrared Systems participated in a demonstration in Southern Arizona and the Spynel C 3000 model successfully detected ultralights at a distance of more than 9 km.

In 2012, CBP had recorded 223 ultralight incursions along the US-Mexico border. The drugs are quietly flown over the border and unloaded to distributors in the US.

Following the transaction, the ultralight returns to Mexico undetected.

Flying as low as 200 feet above ground, ultralights are particularly difficult for radars to detect as the carbon fiber and aluminum material have an extremely low radar signature, making detection nearly impossible.

But drugs smugglers may begin to look to UAVs to smuggle drugs in order to avoid accidents or being caught, given their more inconspicuous nature.

Indeed, the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 increased the penalties for ultralight smuggler pilots: the law closed a loophole where ultralight aircrafts in drug smuggling were treated differently than larger aircraft.

Now, the penalty can be a 20-year jail sentence and up to $250,000 in fines.

In January 2015, as reported by LA Weekly, a $1,400 drone was used to bring crystal meth over the border and ended up crashing in a parking lot in Tijuana.

Micro-drones are readily available to the public, cheap, able to carry a payload and can be programmed to land at a specific location autonomously.

They are typically slow moving and have a very low heat signature, as such, very few technologies out there have been proven effective at detecting and tracking micro-UAVs.

Radars in particular have had very limited results, as well as acoustic sensors which require an exact sound signature match in order to operate (and are therefore very easy to spoof).


Spynel are, to date, the best UAV detection technology on the market : with their large vertical field of view, Spynel cameras have been demonstrated to detect and track micro-UAVs at a up to 800 m.

Easy to operate and deploy, Spynel can be quickly mastered by novice operators. They are ruggedized, and can sustain the harshest environments, including high heat.

The Spynel C 3000 is HGH???s middle of the line panoramic thermal sensor, with an automatic detection range of 3 km for a person and 6 km for a vehicle.

Other Spynel models can go as high as 8 km for a person.

About HGH Infrared Systems

HGH Infrared Systems is a global provider of optronic devices for wide area surveillance, industrial thermography, and infrared test and measurement applications, with 3 product lines:

– the SPYNEL series, day&night 360-degree cameras, provide unprecedented situational awareness on land or at sea. Automatically detecting and tracking both conventional and asymmetrical threats, they secure wide perimeters in real-time,