Washington, June 29 (EFE).- The Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) announced this Wednesday the installation in Nogales, Arizona, a kilometer and a half from the border with Mexico, of an aerostat that will allow permanent surveillance of the area .
The Persistent Terrain Monitoring System Aerostat, 22 meters long, is filled with helium and is anchored by a cable to a platform that weighs almost seven tons.
The vehicle will be operated by Border Patrol agents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The system includes day and night surveillance cameras that provide images captured from up to about 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the ground.
“Flying at that height allows Border Patrol agents to maintain visual control of border activity in the United States for longer periods of time,” CBP said.
The agency added that it “has successfully used technology equipment like this in the Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas since 2013.”
CBP indicated that an agreement with the Department of Defense allows the Border Patrol to increase the number of aerostats located along the southwest border, and that in the remainder of fiscal year 2022, 17 of these systems are scheduled to be deployed in various sectors.
“This will be the first aerostat within the Tucson Sector’s area of responsibility. An additional aerostat site has been identified near Sasabe, Arizona, and is tentatively scheduled for deployment later this fiscal year,” he added.
In February 2021, Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas, stated that CBP would end its balloon surveillance program begun some seven years earlier, citing the cost of the operation as one reason.
Cuéllar’s announcement referred to the program called Tactical Aerostats and Mobile Towers, or TAS, whose artifacts, equipped with radar and high-resolution cameras and infrared vision, could be deployed at heights of 150 to 1,500 meters. EFE
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