Border authorities to test surveillance balloons

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Associated Press

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 9 at 3:02 PM

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Something new soon will be floating in the skies above the Texas-Mexico border as federal authorities test balloon-like military surveillance devices to see if they might help with border monitoring.

Border Patrol spokesman Henry Mendiola says the large, tethered devices called aerostats likely will take flight by Friday in the Rio Grande Valley. He could not say how many there would be nor how long the testing would last.

The devices are on loan from the Defense Department. They're often outfitted with cameras or radar in battlefield settings.

Mendiola declined to discuss what technology they would carry along the border. The test will determine if aerostats no longer needed by the military could be useful for border security.

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