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Camera-toting helium balloons being tested by Border Patrol in Texas

CAPSLOCKSTUCK

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#1
Agents in Texas recently finished a 30-day trial of the camera-toting, helium-filled balloon made by Drone Aviation Holding Corp., a small startup that named former Border Patrol chief David Aguilar to its board of directors in January.



The trial comes as agents test hand-launched drones, which are relatively inexpensive but hampered by short battery life and weight limits.

The Border Patrol has also used six large tethered balloons in Texas since 2012, acquired from the Defense Department.

President Donald Trump has pledged to add 5,000 agents, but hiring has been slow. If drones and balloons are deployed more widely, fewer agents may be needed.

The new balloon - called Winch Aerostat Small Platform, or WASP - drew the Border Patrol's interest largely to save money.




The company says one costs $800,000 plus about $350,000 a year to operate, depending on how often it's moved.

By contrast, operating the current fleet of six large balloons costs $33 million a year, according to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat.

http://www.droneaviationcorp.com/solutions/aerostat/wasp


 
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#2

Frick

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#3
The company says one costs $800,000 plus about $350,000 a year to operate, depending on how often it's moved.

By contrast, operating the current fleet of six large balloons costs $33 million a year, according to U.S.
I am baffled by these numbers. Are they made from unobtanium using sci-fi nanotube links to tether them?
 

rtwjunkie

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#4
Seems to me some well aimed shots from either cartel drug smugglers or human coyotes would eliminate said ballon in a sector(balloons are sensitive to that kind of thing ;)).

This creates a window of opportunity to cross and pass through before humans can respond to a balloon camera going off line.
 
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#6
So much for scrapping the blimp project....

The company says one costs $800,000 plus about $350,000 a year to operate, depending on how often it's moved.
Wow. Even a model jet plane with all the necessary upgrades will cost less and probably be less maintenance-dependent. Just make mini-blimps! Lots of mini-blimps! :rockout:
 
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#7
Seems to me some well aimed shots from either cartel drug smugglers or human coyotes would eliminate said ballon in a sector(balloons are sensitive to that kind of thing ;)).

This creates a window of opportunity to cross and pass through before humans can respond to a balloon camera going off line.

BUT they will be protected by STEALTH KITES.
 
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#8