Israel has deployed surveillance balloons in the West Bank to give security forces greater intelligence capabilities. They can transmit information in real time, meaning soldiers can be deployed in minutes if a situation arises.
The West Bank has suffered from violence in recent weeks after Israel imposed entry restrictions on the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem, the third-holiest site in Islam. The aerostats, which have previously been deployed in Gaza, will give security forces a better idea of what is happening on the ground.
The inflatable devices have certainly won the backing of the Israeli army, which has praised the innovation for providing them with up-to-date visual intelligence. The balloons can be used to pinpoint large gatherings, which could potentially develop into a riot. With this information, the security forces already have a good idea about the size and seriousness of the potential situation they are dealing with.
“It can be deployed at any location and controlled remotely, and its main advantage is its high mobility,” said Lt. A, who withheld his name when speaking to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) website. “The balloon can be at a certain point, and then, according to a reading [of visual intelligence], it can move to another location in a short period of time,” he added.
Photo from http://www.idfblog.com
The surveillance balloon provides quality collection in real time, courtesy of advanced tracking tools. Its designers are now trying to get the aerostat to send the data it broadcasts directly to unit headquarters, as well as units operating in the field. They can also stay airborne for long periods of time, as they do not need to be refueled
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