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BACKGROUND PAPER ON THE AWACS COUNTER-DRUG MISSION AND HOW THE AST HELPS 1Mayhem Chaos Lives Destroyed Drugs ruin many lives and it does not stop with the user Some people are going to do whatever it takes to get drugs into the United States United States Customs officials reported during fiscal year 2000 that over 200 tons of drugs were seized valued at almost 372 million and arrested 3491 individuals How do the United States Air Force Airborne Warning and Control System AWACS airplane and the Airborne Surveillance Technician AST help brake up the flow of drugs I will explain the general role of the AWACS crew and more specifically the role the AST plays in the war against drugs You may ask where does all the action start and who is involved Well I am prepared to answer that 2An AWACS crew of about 23 crewmembers plus maintenance would forward deploy to Howard Air Force Base located in Panama about three miles south of the Panama Canal The counter drug team consists of Navy Air Force Customs and Coast Guard aircraft The AWACS plane is a modified Boeing 707 that has two struts which hold a radar dish on top of aft of the aircraft The radar is very sensitive and can pick up see low slow flying aircraft from as far away as 300 miles This part of the criteria helps determine if a suspect or law-abiding citizens are currently flying the aircraft Other criteria that might be useful is if the aircraft is not flying on its posted flight path or if it failed to file a flight path with the FAA Federal Aviation Authority The suspect does not want to file a flight path with the FAA because secrecy is the only way they can continue their illegal activities Once it is determined the aircraft is doing something suspicious the situation is taken over by the AST Now
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