coondoggie writes "The U.S. Customs and Border Protection service said today it has grounded its nine remaining unmanned aircraft after one of them was forced to ditch in the Pacific Ocean. The unmanned aircraft had an unknown mechanical failure while on patrol off the southern California coast. The crew determined that it wouldn't make it back to Sierra Vista, Arizona, 'and put the aircraft down in the water.' The drone cost about $12 million. 'The Predator B, also known as the MQ-9 Reaper in the U.S. Air Force, can fly as many as 27 hours and reach an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters), according to the website of Poway, California-based General Atomics. It has a wingspan of 66 feet (20 meters) and can carry more than 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of cameras, weapons or other payload, according to the company.'"