The US Coast Guard has been on the front line of defense in the war on drugs for years. Drug runners have headed for the US in specially designed speed boats. Many of these drug runners were easily able to out run the Coast Guard boats in the past. Creating a real issue in trying to get drugs of the streets.
The cavalry has arrived. There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is HITRON, Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron. The war on drugs playing field has been evened. It’s a start; however, we have a long way to go.
These aircraft employ the latest radar and Forward Looking Infrared sensors as well as state of the art Night Vision Goggles to pierce the night. HITRON arms these helicopters with M-16 5.56mm rifles and M240 7.62mm machine guns for warning shots and self-protection, and the RC50 laser-sighted .50 caliber precision rifle to disable the engines of non-compliant suspect vessels.
One thing is for certain, the HITRON’s will not be out run. These heavily armed and extremely fast helicopters are taking a bite out of the drug runners. Working in conjunction with the Coast Guard fleet, they make a formidable team. Although, I do not think many of us would mind if you fired at the crew either.
Cut left — cut right — it doesn’t matter. The bad guys down below aren’t getting away.
“What you’re trying to do is stop the vessel… so that a boarding team can come on board and inspect it,” explained HITRON gunner AET John Deuster.
Along the St. Johns River, in the shadow of downtown Jax, they train three times a week for intense missions over the open ocean. Out at sea, they swoop in over speedboats loaded with drugs and thugs.
But their gunners don’t aim for the crew. They’re trained to blast out the engines on the back of a drug runner’s boat. (First Coast News)
(Hat Tip: RR)