Barber among group trying to save border blimps - Tucson News Now

Could border blimps avoid budget cuts?

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WASHINGTON (AP) -

There is new pressure in Congress to save a long-running border surveillance program.

Arizona Congressman Ron Barber is among 16 representatives asking the Department of Defense and Homeland Security to do what is needed to keep the Tethered Aerostat Radar System operating.

The Air Force intends to stop flights in March for TARS, which is a line of sensor-equipped blimps operating from two sites in Arizona and sites in New Mexico, Texas and Florida.

TARS has been flying since 1980 and the blimps currently supply information to Customs and Border Protection and other US agencies.

But the Pentagon said a year ago that budget reductions meant the program needed to be transferred to Homeland Security or be scrapped.

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