Unfortunately, you barely need the future tense on that one:
We’ve got the sensor packages: (ARGUS-IS, Gorgon Stare, ConstantHawk/AngelFire, among others) and you can mount them on more or less whatever (suitably large) platform suits your purposes.
If you want cheap and off-the-shelf, any modestly sized civilian prop plane can probably answer the purpose. If you want tacticool, several of these sensor packages are explicitly designed for use on MQ-9 Reapers or MQ-1 Predator/MQ-1C Grey Eagle drones. If you want ultra-long loiter, you can use aerostats (as the ‘Kestrel’ system, primarily deployed in Afghanistan, experimentally deployed on the US/Mexico border) does.
The ‘Blue Devil’ blimp project was cancelled after assorted incompetence and cost overruns; but blimps, aerostats, and dirigibles aren’t exactly rocket surgery at this point, so the ongoing project to develop a “Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle” to carry the so-called “Wide Area Persistent Surveillance” sensor systems should be just a matter of not all that much time.
Also fun, Lawrence Livermore put together the ‘Persistics’ software package to help make sorting through all that pesky data easier and more automatic.
If anything, the Compton incident (while everyone involved should be sacked so hard they spit burlap for a month, especially for the, actual quote from actual lead of the project “A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother,” Iketani told the news outlet, “so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.” attitude. You didn’t feel like dealing with complaints so you just did it secretly? So, I’m guessing that testilying doesn’t weigh heavy on your concience, now does it?) was relatively amateur hour.
I find this page on the manufacturer’s website to be particularly notable: “HAWKEYE II was developed under a grant from the Ohio Third Frontier (and economic development initiative for the state of Ohio) A portion of this grant is being used to fund operational demonstrations of the HAWKEYE II system to potential customers for 200 hours. If your organization is actively seeking new surveillance technology and would like a demonstration, please contact us.”
So, odds are good that this little exercise in Big Brother was a marketing stunt(taxpayer funded!) for one Mr. Ross McNutt’s post-Air Force private sector gig. The nonsense the PDs come up with on their own is bad enough; but having salesmen dictate your sinister surveillance strategy? WTFOMGBBQ.