DHS submersible to tackle drug cartels
In the early 1990s, South American drug cartels came up with a new tactic to transport narcotics destined for the United States: small, radar-dodging, self-propelled, semi-submersibles (SPSSs); better to address the submersible problem, DHS Science and Technology Directorate created its own submersible and called it Pluto, after the planet which is difficult to spot.
The erstwhile planet Pluto was known for decades as a small, dark planet — hidden, difficult to spot, and on a quiet, determined course all its own. So when the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) needed a target semi-submersible to detect the hidden but determined maritime smuggling operations of the South American drug cartels, it created its own vessel and called it Pluto, after the planet which is so difficult to spot.
S&T’s Pluto is a small, semi-submersible which is representative of what are popularly called “narco subs,” and serves as a realistic practice target for the detection systems of DHS and its national security community partners.