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Local Company Building Unmanned Helicopters

WLNS.com | August 5 2006

local company says a helicopter could help create a safer homeland and stronger borders. The new state-of-the-art helicopter is equipped with high-tech surveillance equipment. It's being built in Jackson County.

The helicopter stands about two feet high, you can fly it with a remote control, or tell it where you want it to go.

Gene Sorgi, Patriot Antenna Systems: "You can plug in coordinates and fly it on a mission."

But this is no play toy, it's a unmanned aerial vehicle, a UAV customized with high-tech camera equipment from infra red to night vision. Gene Sorgi, Production Director for the company manufacturing the chopper, says it's perfect for securing the nations borders.

Gene Sorgi: "Real helicopters are very expensive. You can run this thing up and down, link it back to a system and have people at a monitoring station trying to see if someone trying to cross the border."

It can secure boarders hundreds of miles away, but the helicopter is manufactured right here in Jackson County.

Gene Sorgi: "As we sell more, we'll have to hire more people, and Albion is a town that big business went away from, and so we're trying to bring more industry back."

Company officials say the UAV has gone as high as 14,000 feet with cameras that can recognize a face from 1,000 feet away. They say that kind of advanced technology has the government wanting to do business with them.

Alex Martinez, 1 Advanced Technologies: "Homeland security is a big issue, we've been approach by the FBI for convoys having the helicopter in front of a convoy for roadside bombs in Iraq."

The Albion company plans to work with the private sector as well as the government. Officials say they recommend the helicopter to anyone looking for state of the art surveillance.

Alex Martinez: "From that to a rancher in Texas that wants to count his cows, I mean, why not?"

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