Pentagon testing mass surveillance balloons over Iowa, Illinois

The Pentagon Building, in December, 2008.
The Pentagon Building, in December, 2008.(WEAU)
Published: Aug. 2, 2019 at 3:25 PM CDT
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Documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show the U.S. military is using experimental high-altitude balloons to conduct surveillance tests over six Midwest states, including Iowa and Illinois, according to The Guardian.

The Pentagon is launching from rural South Dakota as many as 25 unmanned balloons which will drift 250 miles over parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri before ending their journey in central Illinois, The Guardian reports.

The balloons, which travel at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet, are carrying high-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles during both day and night, through any kind of weather.

The FCC filing, made on behalf of aerospace and defense company Sierra Nevada Corporation, states the balloons are intended to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotics trafficking and homeland security threats.”

The FCC granted Sierra Nevada Corporation a license to conduct the tests, which

have not been previously reported, from mid-July until September.