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Saturday, February 27, 2021

US testing surveillance balloons on Mexico border

PENITAS, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol continues testing aerostats along the Texas-Mexico border that were originally used for surveillance by the Department of Defense.

The Border Patrol plans to demonstrate the helium-filled balloons, which are outfitted with cameras and sensors, to media Thursday in Penitas, about 15 miles west of McAllen.

During a similar demonstration last year, an aerostat tethered 2,500 feet above the ground easily made out the make, model and color of vehicles a couple of miles away. Many of the devices were previously used in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide security around bases.

The Border Patrol believes they could be similarly effective against human and drug trafficking above the challenging terrain of South Texas. The agency has tested similar systems along the border in Arizona.

 

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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