U.S. Customs and Border Protection is fixing to upgrade its fleet of specialized, high-speed interceptor vessels, and this spring took delivery of a 43-foot “Advance Concept Technology Demonstrator” vessel.
CBP Advance Demonstration Vessel at work on the Potomac River (James Tourtellotte/CBP)
It’s equipped with an electro-optical/infrared sensor suite, featuring infrared and day and low-light cameras. It’s a lightweight, gyro-stabilized 9-inch turret that can contain up to five sensors. The system also incorporates video recording capability that can be used as evidence during prosecutions.
With a crew of four, the ACTD has a range of 400 nautical miles, deploying for up to 10 hours at a cruising speed of 40 knots. The vessel can reach a top speed of 65 knots (75 mph).
Other features include shock-mitigating seats, gun placements on the port and starboard gunwales, a flush foredeck and a T-top design. It’s powered by four 350 hp Mercury outboard engines for a total of 1,400 hp, an increase of 500 hp over CBP’s current interceptor, the 39-foot Midnight Express.