The surplus technology used to fight insurgents in Afghanistan is coming home, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that several military surveillance blimps will be given to Homeland Security for testing along the US-Mexico border. The blimps themselves are 72-foot-long unmanned aircraft equipped with cameras, infrared sensors, and other equipment that allows them to watch the ground from 2,000 feet in the air. The trial will take place in south Texas and, if successful, could result in the transfer of nearly $27 million worth of equipment to organizations under Homeland Security.
Government sponsored blimps aren't the first unmanned aerial devices used on our borders — both drones and blimps from private companies like Logos Technologies have led to several arrests. The re-use of tax-funded equipment is certainly a financially frugal move, but whether this recycling initiative will also extend to law enforcement is still unclear. Despite the established benefit of unmanned surveillance in combat, its use on American soil has been the subject of significant controversy.