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Tag: radar

Eyes in the Sky: How CBP Combats Drug Smuggling with Blimps

A CBP blimp, via Donna Burton of CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Blimps hovering 10,000 feet above the U.S. border are helping combat drug smuggling operations.

Customs and Border Protection is using eight unmanned, unarmed blimps as eyes in the sky as part of the agency’s Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS).

“TARS is the most cost-efficient capability that we own,” Richard Booth, director of domain operations and integration for CBP’s Office of Air and Marine, says on CBP’s website. “TARS is like a low-flying satellite system, but cheaper to launch and operate.”

The blimps “fly like kites in the wind,” said Rob Brown, CBP program manager for TARS.

“Raising radar and other sensors to high altitude boosts surveillance range, and the physical sight of an aerostat is a visual deterrent to illegal activity in the air and on the ground,” Brown said.

Drug smugglers often fly low to avoid ground-based radar, but they can’t evade the blimps’ radar.

Investigators Report ‘Incredible New Lead’ in Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators believe they were searching the wrong area for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The New York Times reports that authorities have moved the search area nearly 700 miles to the northeast after further radar analysis.

Analysis of the radar shows the plane was traveling far faster than previously believed and therefore lost fuel sooner.

“This is a credible new lead and will be thoroughly investigated today,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia said in a statement on Friday morning, adding that 10 aircraft, six vessels and various satellites would focus on the new search area.

Investigators believe the plane sped up either to avoid detection or to try to find a place to land.