Time for TARS Along USA’s Southern Borders

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TARS, deployed(click to view full) An aerostat is a lighter-than-air craft that relies on a ground tether for movement and sometimes for electrical power as well, as opposed to blimps which are self-powered, free-flying craft. The US military has slowly come around to the benefits of aerostats in an era that requires persistent surveillance, but features high fuel prices. The RAID program has morphed into the tower-centric GBOSS, and progress on the naval front remains slow, but the $1+ billion JLENS advanced aerial surveillance program is still moving ahead, and Lockheed Martin has delivered its PTDS aerostats to the front lines for ground surveillance duties. TARS is also part of this mix, with several firms participating in the program… What is TARS? TARS is a counter-drug program that’s currently funded by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter Narcotics, Counter Proliferation, and Global Threats. The US military has been using TARS aerostats since the 1980s, and before 1992, the TARS network was in the hands of the US Air Force, Customs Service and Coast Guard. A 1992 bill transferred management of the system to the Pentagon/Air Force. Both USNORTHCOM and USSOUTHCOM undertake Counterdrug/ Counter-Narco Terrorism (CD/CNT) missions around the […]

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