While traveling from the Marfa area to Alpine, Texas, on Friday evening, our BorderReport.com team spotted a blimp used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to monitor illegal immigration.
According to a recently published article on CBP’s website, this is one of eight blimps used in the Tethered Aerostat Radar System, or TARS. These are tied to the ground and have the ability to float up and down.
“TARS is like a low-flying satellite system, but cheaper to launch and operate,” Richard Booth, director of domain operations and integration for CBP’s Office of Air and Marine explained in the article.
According to CBP, no one mans the balloons. Each one holds a 2,200-pound radar capable of detecting aircraft up to 200 miles away.
Border officials also say the balloons also serve as a visual deterrent to illegal activity both by air and ground. The CPB article called them “eyes in the sky.”
The other two blimps in Texas are located in the areas of Eagle Pass and Rio Grande City.