Border Patrol Evaluating Aerostat Balloons For Border Security


POSTED: Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 7:42am

UPDATED: Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 10:39am

 It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a blimp? Well actually, it's none of the above. If you glance up at the sky in Roma and see a balloon like object, you are looking at some test technology, called an aerostat balloon, that Customs and Border Protection is trying along the border.

"What this technology does is it allows us to identify and classify something that may be a possible threat," said Assistant Chief Enrique Mendiola, Jr., U.S. Border Patrol RGV Sector.

Inside the aerostat balloons are high tech cameras. Border patrols said in Roma being able to get eyes on a possible dangerous situation fast is greatly needed.

"Especially in this type of area up river from La Joya where we have no infrastructure we have no technology everything out here is still being done by boots on the ground. And so this type of technology would make our job a little more efficient," said Mendiola.

Unfortunately, these two aerostat balloons are only up for test purposes right now, but they are already proving some worth.

"But we have seen some successes as result of the test deployment," said Mendiola.

These balloons are the same type of aerostat technology used in Iraq and Afghanistan. But like all technology, they have ups and downs.

"It is somewhat time consuming to drop and transport, but it's a lot better than having a permanent fixture," said Mendiola.

Right now, the testing period on these aerostat balloons is unknown.

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