TCOM Persistent Surveillance Aerostats ideal for Maritime surveillance

TCOM – a global leader for innovative, cost-effective Airborne Persistent Surveillance solutions – joined forces with the Maryland Commerce Department recently to present at this year’s Avalon Air Show in Geelong, Australia.

A TCOM Operational Class 28M.

 

At this year’s show, TCOM was proud to show off their latest aerostat innovations, displaying two posters focusing on maritime and border security for Australia and Southeast Asia. Increasing geopolitical tensions in maritime zones worldwide and in the Asia-Pacific regions have created a strategic impetus to consider new surveillance platforms for identifying real and perceived threats as they become imminent.

Now, more than ever, persistent situational awareness is critical. However, unlike traditional landlocked conflict zones, maritime surveillance presents a unique challenge as ISR must be successful in multi-modal environments including air, land, and maritime environments. Adding to that complexity is the presence of largely populated areas in multiple countries proximate to the conflict zone, making it difficult to select one tool or method to create an effective operational ‘big picture’ for decision makers.

Recently it was widely reported that regional states such as the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, are actively increasing their proactive vigilance. Wisely, they are also considering an all-of-the-above approach for their defenses to ensure full situational awareness with optimized intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) for land, air, and sea domains.

TCOM showcased the practical applications for ISR with its 28M aerostat, one of its leading Operational Class aerostats, which are ideal for monitoring areas in which ground-based surveillance would be rendered ineffective by domain obstructions, or where manned aerial surveillance is deemed too costly.

Versatile Operational Class aerostat systems may carry payloads that include radar, SIGINT and COMMS Relay to altitudes as high as 5,000 ft above ground and stay 30 days on station. This makes the systems ideal for maritime surveillance applications, protecting ports and costal borders, as well as inland border surveillance applications.

TCOM’s 28M is one of the most widely-used aerostat systems available today. The 28M offers battle-proven reliability and can be customized with multiple payload configurations to meet the most demanding mission requirements. TCOM Operational Class aerostat systems offer unrivaled versatility and performance. These medium-sized aerostat systems offer both the flexibility and portability for accelerated launch and retrieval, along with the capacity for sustained deployment for up to two weeks at a time.

Consider the scenario of a crowded port environment where many ships and small craft are transiting through highly congested waterways. A naval vessel enters a port but is limited to using surveillance equipment that looks outward from the deck level. There may also be ground-based equipment on shore. Together these systems are unable to see all the critical activity at the water level. A low, fast moving boat quickly approaches a larger vessel undetected by traditional methods.

This scenario occurred in 2000 with the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. Aerostat system monitoring the entire port area from hundreds or thousands of feet above would provide early warning to the larger vessel, allowing for a timely reaction. The system could have provided actionable intelligence that allowed for a greater window of time for forces to intercept or engage.

As government decision makers consider using a multi-mode surveillance approach, TCOM’s aerostats stand out in their potential to serve as eyes in the sky in international waters and other maritime regions that have been immersed in perceived threats and real conflict. They are easy to deploy, operate in multiple environments, are efficient and technology-agnostic.

Aerostat systems need little time to deploy and have lower maintenance requirements at a substantially lower hourly operational cost than conventional aircraft and drones. Moreover, aerostats offer a combination of wide viewing angles and high resolution for more precise identification of small objects as well as surveillance of larger areas. In short, aerostats enable true persistent, real-time tactical ISR at an affordable cost.

You can read the entire article on DEFSEC media

 

Aerostats Ideal for Maritime Surveil of Ports & Coastal Borders

TCOM—a global leader for innovative, cost-effective Airborne Persistent Surveillance solutions—joined forces with the Maryland Commerce Department, to present at this year’s Avalon Air Show in Geelong, Australia.

The Avalon Air Show is one of the most prestigious aviation and aerospace events in the Southern Hemisphere, with more than 600 exhibitors and 150 delegations. The event is organized by Aerospace Australia Limited, a not-for-profit corporation, whose mission is to promote aviation and the development of Australia’s industrial, manufacturing and information/communications technology resources for aviation, aerospace and defense.

At this year’s show, TCOM was proud to show off their latest aerostat innovations, displaying two posters TCOM Maritime Security Scenarios in Asian Pacific at Australian International Airshow 2017focusing on maritime and border security for Australia and Southeast Asia. Increasing geopolitical tensions in maritime zones worldwide and in the Asia-Pacific regions have created a strategic impetus to consider new surveillance platforms for identifying real and perceived threats as they become imminent. Now, more than ever, persistent situational awareness is critical. However, unlike traditional landlocked conflict zones, maritime surveillance presents a unique challenge as ISR must be successful in multi-modal environments including air, land, and maritime environments. Adding to that complexity is the presence of largely populated areas in multiple countries proximate to the conflict zone, making it difficult to select one tool or method to create an effective operational ‘big picture’ for decision makers.

Recently it was widely reported that regional states such as the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, are actively increasing their proactive vigilance. Wisely, they are also considering an all-of-the-above approach for their defenses to ensure full situational awareness with optimized intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) for land, air, and sea domains.

TCOM showcased the practical applications for ISR with its 28M aerostat, one of its leading Operational Class aerostats, which are ideal for monitoring areas in which ground-based surveillance would be rendered ineffective by domain obstructions, or where manned aerial surveillance is deemed too costly.

Versatile Operational Class aerostat systems may carry payloads that include radar, SIGINT and COMMS Relay to altitudes as high as 5,000 ft above ground and stay 30 days on station. This makes the systems ideal for maritime surveillance applications, protecting ports and costal borders, as well as inland border surveillance applications.

TCOM’s 28M is one of the most widely-used aerostat systems available today. The 28M offers battle-proven reliability and can be customized with multiple payload configurations to meet the most demanding mission requirements. TCOM Operational Class aerostat systems offer unrivaled versatility and performance. These medium-sized aerostat systems offer both the flexibility and portability for accelerated launch and retrieval, along with the capacity for sustained deployment for up to two weeks at a time.

Consider the scenario of a crowded port environment where many ships and small craft are transiting through highly congested waterways. A naval vessel enters a port but is limited to using surveillance equipment that looks outward from the deck level. There may also be ground-based equipment on shore. Together these systems are unable to see all the critical activity at the water level. A low, fast moving boat quickly approaches a larger vessel undetected by traditional methods. This scenario occurred in 2000 with the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. Aerostat system monitoring the entire port area from hundreds or thousands of feet above would provide early warning to the larger vessel, allowing for a timely reaction. The system could have provided actionable intelligence that allowed for a greater window of time for forces to intercept or engage.

As government decision makers consider using a multi-mode surveillance approach, TCOM’s aerostats stand out in their potential to serve as eyes in the sky in international waters and other maritime regions that have been immersed in perceived threats and real conflict. They are easy to deploy, operate in multiple environments, are efficient and technology-agnostic. Aerostat systems need little time to deploy and have lower maintenance requirements at a substantially lower hourly operational cost than conventional aircraft and drones. Moreover, aerostats offer a combination of wide viewing angles and high resolution for more precise identification of small objects as well as surveillance of larger areas. In short, aerostats enable true persistent, real-time tactical ISR at an affordable cost.

 

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About Avalon Air Show:

The Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defense Exposition is two concurrent events; an exhibition and trade show, followed by a public airshow.

About TCOM, LP:

TCOM, LP is a global leader of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) solutions of Lighter-than-Air Persistent Surveillance Tethered Aerostat platforms for Air, Maritime, and Land. For over 40 years, the company’s pioneering innovations have defined the persistent surveillance and Lighter-than-Air industries. By blending leading edge technology, manufacturing and field operation capabilities, TCOM has provided ISR systems for the United States and foreign governments with complete persistent surveillance capabilities. Our systems are in use around the globe including theaters of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. TCOM’s delivered systems include fixed-site deployments, fully transportable systems and specialized sea-based deployments. TCOM’s headquarters are based in Columbia, MD and the Manufacturing & Flight Test Facility is located near Elizabeth City, NC. TCOM is the only company in the world devoted to cost-effective LTA surveillance solutions with in-house aerostat and airship manufacture, assembly, flight test, and training capabilities. Learn more at http://www.tcomlp.com

Persistence of Vision – The Key to Asserting National Sovereignty

Surveillance of  Canadian territory in the High Arctic is problematic at the best of times. This is especially true of  the Northwest Passage. The various issues are well understood: lack of infrastructure (while environmental sensitivity restricts the building of future infrastructure); navigational difficulties imposed by both weather and the high latitude; the lack of northern- deployed forces (other than Canadian Rangers) and  long transit  times from southern bases.

When one considers these issues, it appears desirable that Canada find a way to ‘leverage’ a low-cost solution into a  high surveillance return. What we need is a checkpoint – someplace where a persistent surveillance effort can serve as a  ‘tripwire’  for other assets. If suspicious targets were detected quickly,  a more detailed examination could  be made by patrol aircraft from the National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) or Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), or by any appropriate Royal Canadian Navy  (RCN)  ships which are operating in the region.

Eyes in the Skies  –  Finding chokepoints in our Northwest Passage to assert Sovereignty Fortunately, a location for our surveillance tripwire exists. At Resolute Bay, Nunavut, site of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Arctic Training Centre, we find  infrastructure and a choke-point in the Northwest Passage. All shipping using the Northwest Passage must  sail  through the waters off  Resolute Bay. All  that remains to be found  is a sensor suite that can monitor the Passage. This may pose a problem due to the fact the channel between Cornwallis Island, on which Resolute Bay is located, and  Somerset Island  is approximately  65 km  (40 miles) wide.

as-nwp-radar-aerostat-daly-1

Ships in the shipping channel can easily be over the radar horizon from Resolute. To achieve a radar horizon of  40 nautical miles (74 km) we would need to mount that radar on a tower of just over 1000 feet (300 m). Building a 1000-foot  tower in the Arctic, capable of withstanding Arctic environmental conditions, would not be easy … or cheap. And pity those brave souls who would face the herculean and terrifying task of servicing the radar once it was mounted!

“Up, Up [but not] Away”?  Inflatable Aerostats as potential  Arctic Surveillance ‘Platforms’ Enter the aerostat, a form of non-rigid, inflatable, tethered airship. Similar to the blimps of old, the aerostat is a more refined descendant. Gone are the days of fragile gasbags filled with hydrogen,  just waiting  to be destroyed. Gone too are the limitations of purely visual observations. The modern aerostat can lift a surveillance radar to 10,000 feet (3 km) or higher and  keep it there for as much as 30 days. Modern aerostat surveillance systems have become more common since the 1980s,  with major defence contractors such as Raytheon and IAI/Elta offering turnkey systems.

IAI has sold a number of systems, including recent sales to India, where they will be used to monitor India’s border with Pakistan. Raytheon’s  JLENS system [1] offers a second aerostat fitted with a fire control radar  – which greatly extends the detection and engagement range of air defence units.  JLENS employs a strategic class 74M aerostat manufactured by TCOM LP in North Carolina. Of greater significance to Canada is another TCOM aerostat, the 71M.

The TCOM 71M can be fitted with a wide variety of sensors, and can operate at altitudes of up to 4,572 metres (15,000 ft)  for up to 30 days. Were the 71M aerostat to be mated with the AN/APS-508 radar set from the CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft,  that system could  ‘see’  out to  370 km – the maximum detection range for  that  radar. That  370 km range, against a large surface target, combined  with Resolute Bay’s location would mean continuous coverage of  any surface contact  for a staggering  740 km. A 740 km coverage range  means that, even for a ship transiting the Northwest Passage at a dangerously fast 20 knots (37 km/h), a ‘target’ vessel remains under surveillance for 20 hours.

Calling in Back-Up: Radar surveillance by Aerostat with confirmation by manned aircraft

To assert Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, radar coverage would need to be more comprehensive. Two additional locations for aerostats suggest  themselves. One is on another choke-point on the Passage – Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island. The other on the western approach to the broad entrance to the Passage – Tuktoyaktuk near Amundsen Gulf.
The use of aerostats may seem ambitious but the Canadian Forces has experience. [2] Then there are economic considerations. RCAF NorPat (Northern Patrols) have been infrequent due to the costs of flying the CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft up from their southern bases. Operating costs for a TCOM 71M aerostat are reported as less than 20% of  that for a fixed-wing surveillance aircraft and require half  the manpower of aircraft capable of  doing the same job. [3]  But savings are possible in ‘manned’ aerial response too. NASP patrol aircraft are based at  Inuvik (near Tuktoyaktuk) and plans were announced to expand NASP. That promise could  be fulfilled by basing new NASP aircraft at Iqaluit near the eastern approaches to the Passage. The CP-140s can be held for solely military response.

Flying at cruising speed, an RCAF  CP-140 Aurora aircraft can be overhead at  Resolute Bay less than 5 hours after its launch from CFB Comox. The chances of any ‘target’ ship escaping detection, and subsequent aerial  identification and  monitoring by a CP-140, are virtually nil.

Each of our three hypothetical aerostat installations on the Northwest Passage would have a circular radar coverage out to 370 km. Each aerostat will have a total coverage area of 430,000 square kilometres giving a combined total coverage of around  1.29 million square kilometres.

The on-site facilities required for 71M aerostats are comparatively simple. The scale of the TCOM 71M is greater than  Canadian Armed Forces  personnel are used to. Then again, the CAF  had  no  aerostat experience at all  before deploying  tactical airships into Afghanistan. Operating a 71M  is no different than other tethered lighter-than-air  craft. Likewise, operating these radar  would be very familiar to the CAF  –  the AN/APS-508 having been used by the Aurora patrol aircraft for years. Training and parts for this Telephonics radar set are well established.
If Canada is to claim the Northwest Passage, we must be able to conduct robust surveillance and control of our waterways. An aerostat allows for such persistent surveillance, with more detailed monitoring as required. Manned aerial patrols add credibility to our territorial claims but, by using commercially-based NASP aircraft, this need not be excessively expensive. [4] This combination of tethered aerostats and manned surveillance aircraft represents a greatly increased oversight of  Canada’s Northwest Passage.  Perhaps it is time to  ‘use it  or  lose it’.

[1] JLENS stands for Joint Land attack cruise missile defense Elevated Netted Sensor system

[2] Canada’s smaller, tactical TCOM 28M RAID (Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment) systems were operational in Afghanistan for ground surveillance use (along with Eagle Eye towers).

[3] The savings claim comes from Raytheon. Actual economy will depend upon aircraft type. According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, Aurora cost per flying hour is $19,750.00. That translates into nearly $200K for each flight to the North and back to the southern base.

Aerostats in Action

Tim Compston, Features Editor at Security News Desk and SecurityMiddleEast.com speaks to Matthew McNiel, Vice President of Business Development at TCOM – a global leader in this field – about why the deployment of aerostats for border protection, emergency management, and security applications is taking off.


Persistent Surveillance

With a wide array of aerial surveillance systems now available in the marketplace – including drones – the obvious question to put to TCOM’s McNiel, at the start our discussion, is what can tethered aerostats bring to the table over and above that available from other platforms? In response, McNiel stresses that the primary advantage aerostats provide centres on their ability to deliver a long duration on station: “This translates into substantial cost savings when contrasted with airborne assets such as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and manned aircraft. These systems typically remain on station for a matter of an hour, while aerostats remain on station for days.” The upshot of this reality, reckons McNiel, is that to maintain 24/7 coverage multiple aircraft are required: “Generally, this results in a very high ‘op-tempo’ for the aircraft and requires even more assets to account for maintenance down time.” By contrast he points out that a single aerostat can provide a 24/7 persistent on-station presence for, potentially, weeks at a time and also requires minimal downtime for maintenance.

Deterring Illegal Activity

Another factor which McNiel flags up in aerostats’ favour is the way that they offer the sort of deterrent effect not seen with other competing airborne surveillance platforms, citing the US border as a case in point: “For decades, strategic aerostats have surveilled the US southern border in support of anti-narcotics trafficking and illegal immigration, virtually eliminating small plane flights in the Southwest and fundamentally affecting “go-fast” boats in the Caribbean. This is due in part to the highly effective intelligence gathered by the on-board sensors, but also greatly influenced by the very obvious nature of the aerostat itself,” says McNiel.

Aerostats In Action
The Right Class

McNiel then goes into more detail on the classes of aerostat systems. He reports, for instance, that tactical aerostat systems – 12M, 17M, 22M and 28M – are basically multi-modal and ideal for deployment on land, to maritime domain awareness sites, or directly from a vessel at sea: “These aerostats can be assembled and deployed in just a few short hours, and manned by a minimal crew. The system can carry payloads including day/night EO/IR cameras, radars, communications relay and more.” Beyond this, he reveals that with larger size aerostat systems – 22M, 28M – comes a greater capacity to allow ‘operational class’ systems to operate at higher altitudes for a greater surveillance range while, in addition, remaining aloft for up to two weeks at a time: “This ensures round-the-clock persistent surveillance for highly trafficked areas and maritime borders.”


Increasing Demand

As we have witnessed terrorism becoming global, and borderless, McNiel reckons that the need to use effective ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) in maritime and land borders is becoming more and more of a strategic requirement: “Consider the scenario of a crowded port environment. An aerostat system, equipped with sensor payloads, is capable of monitoring the entire port area, for example, including activity at the water level because it is looking down from hundreds or thousands of feet above. The system can detect threats and provide leaders with actionable intelligence with a greater window of time to enable forces to intercept or engage,” he explains.
McNiel adds that, as a result of this heightened threat level, TCOM is seeing growing interest in applications similar to the one that the vendor has fielded previously in Italy: “In this case, Italy turned to TCOM to deliver an affordable, persistent sea surveillance system that would provide comprehensive monitoring of the Otranto Strait and Italian coastline. The system, identified as SAACS (South Adriatic Aerostat Coastal Surveillance System), used a larger TCOM Tactical aerostat configured with a multi-mode search radar, a stabilized day/night camera suite and a V/UHF transceiver.” In operation, McNiel says that the radar provided the early long-range detection and tracking of smugglers using compact, quick moving small boats and rafts: “It then cued the camera to provide timely actionable intelligence which was transmitted to remotely-located Navy command and control centres, and to Navy Patrol Ships nearby,” he explains.


Changing Times

To conclude our interview, talk turns to how the nature of the aerostats – and the sensors they carry – has changed in recent years. McNiel is keen to underline the fact that, as technologies that combine big data, analytics, and sophisticated infrared and telecommunications advance, TCOM has demonstrated how its lighter-than-air tactical aerostat platforms can leverage ever more innovative ISR applications: “This is from providing high-definition Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) to precision geospatial-location sensors for persistent surveillance and enabling the latest 4G LTE cellular coverage in times of emergency.”


Incident Management

McNiel points out that for domestic terrorism situations domestic response units must be prepared to respond rapidly to threats and that aerostats have a key role to play here: “It is important to establish persistent surveillance swiftly with maximum interoperability and real-time ISR Surveillance insights for commanders on the ground. First responders need to assess situations to determine the scope of what they are dealing with, where they might be located, differentiate who in the area might be a potential threat and evacuate civilians.”
Moving on to disaster relief scenarios, such as the major fires earlier this year in Western Canada, as well as annual hurricanes and other natural disasters, McNiel believes that these are instances where Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) deployed at a high elevation on an aerostat would be extremely useful: “Technologies designed for the battlefield are perfectly suited to address threats to the homeland and can be applied to solve and alleviate the duties of domestic first responders,” says McNiel.
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http://blog.intersecexpo.com/aerostats-in-action

 

TCOM Electronics Technicians Keep Company’s Aerostats Flying High

Inside an enormous hangar that once launched World War II Navy blimps, TCOM, L.P. manufactures and assembles airships and the lofty aerostats that are used for air defense systems and surveillance around the world. A key to the Elizabeth City, N.C. operation is an inventory of fine-tuned machines—and the technicians who keep them running.

Bradley Perkins and Rick Anderson are electronics technicians who work in TCOM’s sealer maintenance shop. They keep in top working order the machines that seal the seams of the lighter-than-air aerostats.

Aerostats are unmanned, tethered balloons filled with helium to keep them aloft. Outfitted with radar and communications systems, the aerostats made at TCOM are now a critical part of air defense systems used in Kuwait, Israel, India and Iraq.

“Any interruption in the aerostats’ operation could compromise the mission, ” said TCOM Site Operations Manager Charles Knauss. “Completely flexible, aerostats have no internal structure, so sealing together the laminate material that contains the helium is integral to their success.”

That’s where Perkins and Anderson come in.

Working from TCOM’s sealer maintenance shop, their job is to replace and maintain the head and feet on the industrial-sized heat sealer machines. Using 480 volts of electricity, the hand-sized head and the shoe-sized foot clamp together to heat and seal the seams along the gigantic aerostats that range in size from 17 to 74 meters. That’s a machine you want to have in top shape when you’re constructing a balloon intended for air defense overseas.

“When this machine goes down, production goes down,” explained Anderson. “We need to make sure the machines are maintained properly for this function.”

In addition to maintaining the heat sealer machines, Perkins and Anderson keep a battery of mechanical devices in working order—the inspection equipment, on which workers examine the thin aerostat laminate for flaws; the plotter cutter machines that cut the material according to design; and the blowers used to inflate the deflate the aerostats in testing.

Every 60 days, they run a top-to-bottom inspection of all 34 machines—checking connections, bearings, pins, and cables, in addition to changing all the filters.

“We deal with expensive equipment, and there’s a long lead time to get it replaced,” said Perkins. “One little slip-up can cause havoc.”

Putting it together
As long as he can remember, Perkins has enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together. With a keen interest in electronics, he took as many related courses as he could when he was a student at Gates County High School, including computer language classes and math. After graduation, he enrolled in the two-year computer engineering program at College of the Albemarle (COA). That’s where he learned about TCOM through the college’s co-op program that places students with on-the-job learning experiences.

For Perkins, it was a good fit—and a smart career move. When he graduated with an associate’s degree in 2005, he went to work full-time with TCOM.

“The co-op program gave me the chance to learn more about what TCOM does and really apply what I’d learned in the classroom,” he explained.

Anderson will complete the same COA program this year. After he works the first shift at TCOM, he goes home to hit the books through the college’s distance learning courses, conducted online. His background as an ASE-certified mechanic has helped.

“I started working on cars because I owned a 1988 Ford Escort and needed to keep it up. I’m self-taught,” Anderson said. “And I’ve always been fascinated with computers, wanting to know what’s inside that box and all that goes on.”

Perkins’ and Anderson’s pride in their jobs shows as they go about their work at TCOM. In a spacious manufacturing room next to their shop, material for a 74-meter aerostat is stretched out along the length of the floor. It will take workers up to three months to construct it. Anderson is busy switching out parts on one of the heat sealer machines, while Perkins checks other devices in the room that will be instrumental in the successful completion of the balloon.

“We’re kind of like the behind-the-scenes backbone of the company. You might not notice us when things are running smoothly. But once a machine isn’t functioning or breaks down, we’re the ones that get the call,” said Perkins. “What we do here is important.”

———————————————–Read the Entire Article and see Photos HERE

Singapore enhances aerial, maritime surveillance capabilities with 55 m aerostat

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has begun local tests of a 55 m tethered aerostat system that was acquired to enhance the republic’s continuous airborne radar coverage and maritime surveillance capabilities.

Key Points

  • The Singapore Armed Forces has taken delivery of a 55 m tethered aerostat
  • System will enhance the republic’s persistent aerial and maritime surveillance capabilities

The aerostat, which was unveiled to the media on 29 November 2016, will be operated by the Republic of Singapore Air Force. (IHS/Ridzwan Rahmat)The aerostat, which was unveiled to the media on 29 November 2016, will be operated by the Republic of Singapore Air Force. (IHS/Ridzwan Rahmat)

The system, which can detect aerial and seaborne threats at distances of up to 200 km, will be operated by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) at the Choa Chu Kang Camp, which is located in the western part of the island.

The aerostat is operated by a ground crew of eight personnel, and has a maximum operating height of 2,000 ft (600 m). The setup comprises a helium-filled airframe, a tether cable made of Kevlar, a mooring station, a high-strength winch system, and a suite of unspecified sensors.

The system, which was originally planned for deployment in 2015, was unveiled in a media event on 29 November in conjunction with a visit by Singapore’s defence minister Ng Eng Hen to the aerostat’s intended deployment site.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of his visit, Ng described the aerostat as a system that has been acquired to overcome the country’s lack of suitable high points from which it can deploy suitable radars that can complement the SAF’s existing network of ground and aerial sensors.

“All of us recognise that Singapore is a very small island, and that alone makes us very vulnerable to threats either from the air or sea,” said Ng, who then cited the 2010 Mumbai terror attacks as an example of what can happen should seaborne adversaries not be detected in time.

“The very fact that we have [the aerostat system] adds another layer of defence, and confidence in terms of what we are able to detect with regards to aerial and maritime threats,” he added.

Read Full Article HERE

TCOM, Global Leader of ISR Tethered Aerostat Solutions, invited by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) to Share Innovative Maritime Border Solutions

TCOM, a global leader of ISR Tethered Aerostat Solutions, is honored to announce it was invited to share its latest innovative solutions for maritime border security by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), at the first European Coast Guard Cooperation Network meeting. Held in Warsaw, Poland on November 8-10, the event highlighted the new agency’s expanded role in the maritime arena.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (evolved from Frontex in September 2016) stands at the center of Europe’s efforts to expand international cooperation on carrying out various coast guard functions. In addition to border control, these include: maritime safety, security, search and rescue, fisheries control, customs, law enforcement and environmental protection. Its extensive presence at EU maritime borders makes Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, an ideal platform to facilitate cooperation between national law enforcement, customs and other authorities operating in the maritime domain and European agencies as part of European Integrated Border Management.

In multi-purpose operations, vessels and aircraft deployed by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency cooperate with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to spot sea pollution and other possible violations of maritime conventions. Alongside the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), Frontex collects and shares information to be used to detect illegal fishing. The agency also closely cooperates with Europol and law enforcement bodies of Member States to combat serious cross-border crime, including trafficking of human beings and terrorism.

One of the objectives of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is to keep the EU Member States/Schengen Associated Countries and other stakeholders informed about new technological developments in the field of maritime border control.

During the meeting, TCOM presented the usage of Tactical Aerostats for Maritime Domain Awareness. Aerostat systems have the payload size, weight and power capacity to support high-performance maritime radars. With an advanced maritime radar, a single sea surveillance system can track maritime targets at distances of 60 nautical miles and cover thousands of square miles for weeks at a time. In addition to the radar, the aerostat can simultaneously support passive surveillance payloads like COMINT, SIGINT, and ELINT, thermal imaging and optical sensors, as well as communications payloads at the lowest possible hourly cost for an airborne asset. The early detection and direct communications with air and sea assets afford the critical window of time to evaluate the situation, coordinate forces, and engage.

The gathering brought together representatives of more than 40 different national authorities of EU member states, including coast guards, navies, border police, customs and maritime authorities. Also in attendance were representatives of various EU agencies, other EU bodies and three international organizations (UNHCR, Interpol and NATO), as well as officials from eight non-EU countries, including the United States, Australia, Libya and Morocco.

According to Frontex, “Maritime operations account for the largest share of the budget of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard. Spending on them already surpasses EUR 100 million annually, almost four times the amount Frontex had spent on sea operations just two years earlier.” Joint operations, such as Triton in Italy and Poseidon in Greece, make Frontex an ideal platform to develop cooperation between national law enforcement, customs and other authorities operating in the maritime domain and European agencies.

About TCOM, LP:

TCOM, LP is a global leader of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) solutions of Lighter-than-Air Persistent Surveillance Tethered Aerostat platforms for Air, Maritime, and Land. For over 40 years, the company’s pioneering innovations have defined the persistent surveillance and Lighter-than-Air industries. By blending leading edge technology, manufacturing and field operation capabilities, TCOM has provided ISR systems for the United States and foreign governments with complete persistent surveillance capabilities. Our systems are in use around the globe including theaters of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. TCOM’s delivered systems include fixed-site deployments, fully transportable systems and specialized sea-based deployments. TCOM’s headquarters are based in Columbia, MD and the Manufacturing & Flight Test Facility is located near Elizabeth City, NC. TCOM is the only company in the world devoted to cost-effective LTA surveillance solutions with in-house aerostat and airship manufacture, assembly, flight test, and training capabilities. Learn more at http://www.tcomlp.com

———————————-See the Full Article with Photos HERE

Secure Our Oceans Project – TCOM’s Operational Class Aerostat Systems

TCOM offers the Operational Class Aerostat Systems that the company labels as ideal for maritime and border surveillance. These medium-sized systems are versatile and are capable of sustained deployments of up to two weeks. They are customizable, offering the consumer the flexibility to meet mission objectives.

Load it up: These systems can carry payloads that include radar, signals intelligence and communications devices and can reach altitudes as high as 915 meters (3000 ft)  above the ground control station.

The models: TCOM offers the TCOM 22M and TCOM 28M. The 22M can be assembled in a few hours and can be rapidly deployed without needing any special equipment. This model is operational in Afghanistan and is capable of carrying multiple intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads. Based on the 22M, the 28M is one of the most widely-used aerostat systems, is battlefield ready and can be customized with a variety of payload configurations to meet mission requirements.

// SPECIFICATIONS

Payload Weight: 190 kilograms (425 lbs)
Altitude: 900 meters (3000 ft)
Flight Duration: 14 days
Wind Speeds: 50 knots operational / 70 knots survival

// KNOWN DEPLOYMENTS

The TCOM 22M is operational in Afghanistan.

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2016-2026 Global Military Aerostats Market Research Report

Including Forecast by Product Type (Tethered, Airship). Contracts & Analysis of High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Persistent Ground Surveillance Systems (PGSS), Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS), Tethered Aerostat Radar Systems (TARS), Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3), Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID)

Now: Why is the Military Aerostat important right now?
As part of the broader Military Aerostat market space, there are significant revenue streams within the tethered aerostat submarket to tap into. This report shows you where these business opportunities are.

Due to a myriad of real and perceived threats, never before have governments been so concerned with protecting their assets and infrastructure from accidental and increasingly deliberate attack. The potential security contracts at stake are enormous and your company needs to be part of this.

What are the Military Aerostat market prospects?
Visiongain’s definitive new report assesses that the Military Aerostat market will reach $4,175m in 2016. The performance of the industry is forecast to grow steadily, with an anticipated CAGR of 4.8% for the five-year period 2016-2021, which is expected to drive the industry to a value of $5,289mn by the end of 2021.

Visiongain’s timely 165 page report reveals how best to compete in this lucrative market space and maximize your company’s potential.

Read on to discover how this report can help you develop your business.

To see a report overview please email Sara Peerun on sara.peerun@visiongainglobal.com

This report addresses the pertinent issues:
• Where are the most lucrative market prospects?
• Who are the leadings companies and what does the competitive landscape look like?
• What are the regional, technical and regulatory barriers to market entry?
• What are the technological issues and roadmap driving the market?
• Why is the market prospering and how can you fully exploit this?
• When will the market fully mature and why?

Research and analysis highlights
• Independent, impartial and objective analysis
• An exclusive expert interview with leading aerostat specialist TCOM
• 169 tables, charts and graphs illustrating the Military Aerostat market prospects
• Global Military Aerostat market forecast and analysis 2016-2026
• Two Military Aerostat submarket forecasts by Product Type covering the period 2016-2026
– Tethered
– Airship
• Ten leading national Military Aerostat market forecasts from 2016-2026 each further segmented by Tethered and Airship aerostats
Australia
Brazil
Canada
Germany
India
Israel
Singapore
– UK
– US
– RoW

• Analysis of barriers to entry into the global and national Military Aerostat markets
• Profiles of 11 leading companies, involved with Military Aerostat with key financial metrics
– Allsopp Helikite
– ALTAVE
– ILC Dover
– Lindstrand Technologies Limited
– Lockheed Martin Corporation
– Raven Industries Inc
– Raytheon Company
– RT
– SkySentry
– TCOM, L.P.
– Worldwide Aeros
• SWOT/PEST market analysis

And theres more.

How this report will benefit you
• You have almost certainly an excess of conflicting and yet unclear information – you want one definitive military aerostats report to base your business decisions upon – this visiongain report provides that clarity
• Our insightful military aerostats report speaks to your needs for definitive market data, objective impartial analysis and immediate clear conclusions – to allow you to formulate clear decisive business strategies
• You need the information now in an easily digestible form – this is where this visiongain report excels
• Forecasts give you a crucial advantage. That knowledge of the future is central to your strategic decision making.
• Knowledge is vital to you and your business. You need every piece of evidence to inform your crucial investment decisions – let visiongain give you that clear advantage
• Without this vital military aerostats report, you will fall behind your competitors

Who should read this report?
• Anyone within the Military Aerostat value chain.
• CEO’s
• COO’s
• CIO’s
• Business development managers
• Technologists
• Suppliers
• Marketing managers
• Investors
• Banks
• Government agencies
• Contractors

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Bravura to Lead U.S. Army’s Aerostat Management Under $306 Million Contract

Bravura Information Technology Systems, Inc. will ensure operations, maintenance and sustainment of the U.S. Army’s aerostats under a new program called Persistent Surveillance Systems – Tethered (PSS-T). This $305.7 million U.S. Army contract combines the capabilities of the Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) and the Persistent Ground Surveillance System (PGSS), which were fielded to support joint urgent operational needs.

“These aerostats provide crucial information and protection for our men and women in uniform who serve in remote and dangerous locations,” said Bravura CEO Claudine Adams. “We are thrilled that our dedicated team will support these key programs and continue the important legacy of aerostat innovation.”

To help protect troops in the field, the U.S. Army has placed an increased emphasis on providing more and better intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Persistent surveillance and threat detection systems have proven especially effective in identifying improvised explosive devices, tracking insurgent movements and monitoring other suspicious activity.

PSS-T provides warfighters with an effective ISR capability, support to force protection and platforms to extend communications networks beyond line of sight. Filled with helium and attached to mobile mooring systems by high-strength tethers, PSS-T large and medium aerostats have scalable capabilities providing around the clock surveillance of broad areas for weeks.

Bravura is partnering with Lockheed Martin and TCOM to help meet its efforts to support combatant commanders and joint agency requirements. Each company’s innovative capabilities will be instrumental in technical consolidation and operational streamlining for the new program.

Lockheed Martin, the PSS-T Large developer, delivered its first lighter-than-air (LTA)-based persistent ISR systems to the U.S. Navy more than 75 years ago and has produced more than 300 airships and thousands of aerostats in support of military operations world-wide.

“We are pleased to partner with Bravura to extend our legacy of lighter-than-air innovation, engineering and production,” said Paula Hartley, vice president, Advanced Product Solutions, Lockheed Martin. “PTDS has performed exceptionally in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2004 and we are looking forward to many more years of supporting our customers’ needs for affordable, reliable aerostat systems.”

TCOM, with operations in over 12 countries, is the PSS-T Medium developer and a global authority in airborne persistent surveillance solutions. For over 40 years, TCOM innovations have defined the LTA industry, and its pioneering achievements continue to revolutionize the design, manufacture and deployment of LTA systems.

“We are proud to join Bravura as they continue providing the combat proven PGSS platforms for soldiers abroad,” said Ron Bendlin, president, TCOM. “PSS-T, as a program of record, represents an enduring aerostat capability for the U.S. Army, and TCOM looks forward to supporting Bravura with cost effective and innovative solutions in the years ahead.”

Other PSS-T team members include: Tobyhanna Army Depot, which provides logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems; Dragoon Technologies, Inc., a service-based engineering company providing advanced systems integration and installation for airborne ISR platforms;  Priority Worldwide Services, which provides supply chain solutions globally;  Accent Controls, Inc., an entrepreneurial systems integration engineering firm; Cape Fox Professional Services, which provide advanced technology and safety training solutions to federal clients; Digital Results Group, which provides web-enabled software and technology solutions that fuse, in real-time, sensor and intelligence data to support operations; and STS International, which protects U.S. infrastructure and forces both at home and abroad.

Work on the PSS-T program will be performed in Aberdeen and Columbia, Maryland, Melbourne, Florida and Akron, Ohio.

For additional information, visit www.bravurainc.com.

About Bravura
Headquartered in Aberdeen, Maryland, Bravura is a woman-owned, minority owned, small disadvantaged business with a wealth of Department of Defense, Army, and intelligence community experience. With over 30 years of experience, Bravura employs a highly skilled leadership team of proven and experienced personnel. Our professionals are ready to provide quality driven, customer focused, schedule-determined, risk mitigated and cost restrained solutions to help our clients gain maximum value for mission success.

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 98,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

About TCOM

TCOM’s headquarters is in Columbia, Maryland, and the Manufacturing & Flight Test Facility is located near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. TCOM is the world’s leading company specializing in cost-effective LTA surveillance solutions with in-house aerostat and airship manufacture, assembly, flight test and training capabilities.

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