Military Blimps Being Tested
The Department of Homeland Security's leading agency for border issues, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announced yesterday that it has begun testing surplus equipment handed over by the Defense Department, trying to see how well they work for border security purposes.
One such piece of equipment is the "Wide Area Persistent Surveillance Systems," also called Aerostat systems. Basically, they're tethered blimps that can hover as high as 2,000 feet in the air and act in the same way as Unmanned Aerial Systems, UAS, more commonly known as drones, for radar surveillance.
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These older blimp-sized surveillance systems have been used by the Army in places such as Afghanistan.
They're now being tested in the Rio Grande Valley, the 120-mile-swath of the deepest section of the Texas-Mexico border.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) has been pushing in recent months for the Army to release more surplus equipment to DHS/CBP to be used for border security in Texas, which takes up 1,254 miles of the 1,952 U.S.-Mexico border.