(The Guardian) – The US military is conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons, documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveal. Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois. Traveling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000ft, the balloons


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are intended to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotics trafficking and homeland security threats”, according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, aerospace, and defense company. The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather. The tests, which have not previously been reported, received an FCC license to operate from mid-July until September, following similar flights licensed last year. READ MORE

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The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and took its current name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust.