Tactical Aerostat System Demonstration

Aerostat System

Carolina Unmanned Vehicles (CUV) has been invited to participate in Phase 1 of the experimentation campaign. This will conclude with the 21st Century Maneuver, Logistics, and Force Protection Advanced Technology Naval Exercise (ANTX).  The ANTX is scheduled for 8 – 19 July 2019, with USMC Base, Camp Lejeune NC serving as the primary site.  CUV will demonstrate the Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System (STMPAS) as a mobile, cost-effective aerostat system for persistent 24/7 EO/IR Surveillance, Networked Communications Relays and Signal Intelligence collection.  The current planned operation will demonstrate road and off-road deployment of the STMPAS with a camera payload. 

CUV is seeking a partner for alternate payloads, including C3, ELINT / SIGINT and possibly GPS Psuedolites.  These may be demonstrated at ANTX if CUV can partner with other companies to provide payloads.  These may operate at up to 3,000 feet. 

Previous versions of STMPAS were deployed by the Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) to provide Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability for small tactical units in Afghanistan.  The current version of STMPAS, developed with CUV internal funding, launch directly from a box on the trailer top rather than from the ground. This improves the launch timeline, and allows movement of the system with the Helikite inflated atop the trailer.  It can carry ISR and communications payloads attached under a small specially designed tethered blimp, called a Helikite. A trailer Carrier stores the Helikite and the winch, generator and helium tanks.  The STMPAS blimp can fly at altitudes of 500 to 4,000 feet for low cost, long term coverage for 24 hours a day for a week or more without maintenance or downtime.  It operates for weeks at a time at a fraction of the cost of comparable aircraft or Unmanned Air Vehicles.  

Fig. 1 Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System
Rapidly Deployable Mobile Capability for:
Persistent 24/7 EO/IR Surveillance
Long Range Command Communications Control (C3) Relay (120+ Km)
Joint / Coalition C3 Node
Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Support Using Pseudolite Payloads
Electronic Intelligence, Signal Intelligence, Communications Intelligence
(ELINT / SIGINT / COMINT) Collection, Dissemination

Traditional aerostats cannot operate in high winds unless they are fairly large, typically with 200 lbs of lift or more.  This large size makes them unsuitable for deployment to small isolated bases.  STMPAS uses the patented Allsopp Helikite lifting aerostat.  Helikites have lifting surfaces that generate aerodynamic lift to support the blimp in winds which would drive traditional designs into the ground.  With the Helikite, STMPAS can be smaller and more mobile than traditional aerostat systems yet still operate in high winds.  With superior mobility, mission utility and adverse weather capability, all STMPAS equipment can fit into a single military trailer (Fig. 1).  STMPAS is designed to support mobile or expeditionary operations.  It is also ideal for mobile border security and post-disaster communications support.  The Department of Commerce has approved the basic STMPAS equipment for export.  

STMPAS is suitable for surveillance, communications relay and research for DOD and Homeland Security missions.  CUV is a small Woman-Owned company focused on small aerostats and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In addition to the REF, CUV has previously provided aerostat systems for the USAF, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin.  Contact: Mike Rogers, (919) 851-9898, merogers@carolinaunmanned.com.

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