Homeland Security Takes Over Border Blimps

August 19, 2013

Radar blimps that patrol the U.S.-Mexico border are now run by the Department of Homeland Security. The Tethered Areostat Radar System, known as TARS, uses giant balloons across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. They were previously under the control of the U.S. Air Force. The blimps use radar to detect low-flowing aircraft carrying drugs or other contraband into the U.S.

According to the Yuma Sun, the blimp in Yuma has been temporarily grounded as it changes hands from the Air Force to Homeland Security.

Spokesman Bill Brooks of the Customs and Border Protection Office said his department accepted TARs from the Air Force earlier this summer. It will manage and maintain the blimps for the foreseeable future.

TARS has been in use since the 1980s. It has also deployed in Florida and Puerto Rico.