Aerostat patrols the border

An imaging system mounted on an aerostat has been helping authorities to detect, identify and track individuals suspected of illegal activity along the US border.

Apr 9th, 2012
Aerostat patrols the border
Aerostat patrols the border

An imaging system mounted on an aerostat has been helping authorities to detect, dentify and track individuals suspected of illegal activity along the US border.

Raven Aerostar’s (Sioux Falls, SD, USA) aerostat was fitted out with a Wescam MX-15 multi-sensor camera system from L-3 Communications (New York, NY, USA) and a Kestrel day/night wide-area persistent surveillance system from Logos Technologies (Arlington, VA, USA).

To evaluate the system for border security use, the system was recently put through its paces in a week-long test in Nogales funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. In use, it was able to help Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents identify dozens of illicit activities in progress.

Thanks to the system, authorities apprehended 30 suspects on the first night of the demonstration alone and made a total of 80 arrests over the course of the week.

“We will be testing this new surveillance system and evaluating the capacity it will offer in the border environment. The success of the test run will determine whether the DHS and CPB decide to procure systems for use along the border in the future. Early reviews of the system's performance at Nogales have been exceedingly positive especially at night,” says Border Patrol spokesman Lloyd Easterling.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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