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TCOM offers the world’s largest selection of proven aerostat solutions that counter the tactical, operational and strategic threats faced by our customer-nations.
End-to-end systems engineered for any environment.
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We provide our customers with innovation, responsiveness and best value by leveraging our advanced technology, skilled workforce and over 40 years of proven experience.
TCOM advancements continue to define the industry.
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TCOM is the proven global leader for innovative, cost-effective Airborne Persistent Surveillance solutions protecting national security in the world’s most demanding operational environments.
TCOM aerostat systems are Soldiers of the Skies.
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Expanding airborne persistent surveillance horizons efficiently and economically, TCOM systems detect potential threats by air, over land, and by sea, providing actionable intelligence in a timely manner.
TCOM makes persistent surveillance affordable.
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Sea Based Aerostat Gallery
View images of TCOM Sea Based Aerostats. TCOM is the global leader in aerostat persistent surveillance solutions, providing total domain awareness over air, land and sea. TCOM systems provide affordable and economical persistent surveillance for military, defense, law-enforcement, border security and communications applications.
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Aerostat Payload Gallery
TCOM is the global leader in airborne persistent surveillance solutions, providing actionable intelligence rapidly and reliably in the world’s most challenging operational environments. TCOM aerostat systems can accommodate various payloads including communications equipment, radar, infrared, and video surveillance. Payloads can be customized to meet any mission over air, land or sea.
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74M Aerostat Gallery
View images of TCOM 74M aerostat systems. TCOM is the global leader in aerostat persistent surveillance solutions, providing total domain awareness over air, land and sea. TCOM systems provide affordable and economical persistent surveillance for military, defense, law-enforcement, border security and communications applications.
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71M Aerostat Gallery
View images of TCOM 71M aerostat systems. TCOM is the global leader in aerostat persistent surveillance solutions, providing total domain awareness over air, land and sea. TCOM systems provide affordable and economical persistent surveillance for military, defense, law-enforcement, border security and communications applications.
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Designed to meet mission objectives in any domain
Customized for air, land and sea surveillance applications
Affordable, reliable persistent surveillance solutions
Tactical, Operational and Strategic Solutions Designed to Meet Any Mission
Maintaining continuous aerial security is a daunting task. Threats such as low-flying, extremely fast aircraft can take advantage of the earth’s curvature and exploit terrain obstructions. This renders ground-based radars unable to provide target information in time to take appropriate action. Slow, low flying missiles with a small cross section may also avoid early detection and pose a significant threat. Manned aerial surveillance can decrease the risk for short periods of heightened alert, but the operational costs are much too high for extended use. To meet this airborne coverage challenge effectively and inexpensively, TCOM developed the 71M Low Altitude Surveillance System. With over 1,000,000 hours of operation these systems are the only operational airborne defense assets to routinely provide the continuous round-the-clock, low altitude target detection information needed to secure the skies.
TCOM Aerostat Classes
Tactical Class: 12M, 17M
Operational Class: 22M, 28M
Strategic Class: 71M, 74M
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Case Study: RAID/0 Comments/by gal
TCOM Provides Tethered Aerostat Persistent Surveillance Solutions to RAID Program in Iraq and Afghanistan
Case Study Facts:
- U.S. Forces in Iraq lacked effective perimeter surveillance for forward operating bases
- Troops at high risk of enemy attack
- U.S. Military deployed RAID program
- TCOM 17M tactical aerostats deployed in bases throughout Iraq
- Larger TCOM Aerostat systems deployed in Afghanistan to relay surveillance and communications information rapidly and reliably
- TCOM aerostat persistent surveillance systems save lives
Under the darkness of night in Iraq and out of range of ground-based sentries, enemy fighters were able to creep in undetected toward forward operating bases (FOB) and posts where U.S. forces were deployed. Intent on launching mortar attacks or implanting explosive devices designed to disrupt operations and kill U.S. soldiers, they posed a deadly and pervasive threat. The U.S. military needed a reliable surveillance system that could foresee impending danger and give military commanders the actionable intelligence needed to prevent and intercept attacks.
To counter this threat, the U.S. military turned to trusted partner TCOM to provide tethered aerostat systems that delivered persistent surveillance and communications needed to detect and neutralize the attackers before they could carry out their missions. The first use of tethered aerostats in this application came under the innovative RAID (Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment) program. RAID made use of the TCOM 17M tactical aerostat to carry electro/optical and infrared payloads to gather intelligence around the clock and communications payloads to provide accurate surveillance information in real time.
RAID utilized EO/IR sensors, radar and flash and acoustic gunshot detectors to provide persistent, panoramic surveillance of the covered areas, providing timely warning of potential threats and other valued intelligence. Combined with the surveillance towers (G-BOSS), the aerostat systems provided essential situational awareness necessary for improved security and daily operations in and around the FOB.
The RAID program was so successful that many more 17M tactical aerostats were soon pressed into action across forward operating bases throughout Iraq. Since its initial deployment in 2003, over 60 aerostat systems and more than 300 RAID systems have been deployed as part of the Persistent Surveillance and Dissemination Systems (PSDS2) currently in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. This program has been credited with saving many lives and has also led to the development of the TCOM 22M and 28M operational aerostat systems for use in Iraq and Afghanistan where challenging operational environments required larger platforms. Most importantly, RAID established the value of the tethered aerostats to support U.S. Military on the battlefield and has led to the unprecedented use of aerostats in to support and enhance U.S. military operations worldwide.
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Support from Start to Finish
TCOM provides single point responsibility for the overall system performance and continuing aerostat support essential for the reliable and consistent performance of the Aerostat Surveillance System.
After the system has successfully completed all its formal testing at our Manufacturing and Flight Test Facility, it is shipped to the customer. TCOM’s Field Operations & Support (FOS) group, supported by TCOM’s headquarters design and systems engineering groups, provides the in-country expertise for on-site installation, on-the-job training and integration into existing networks.
The Turnkey Installation Solution Includes:
- Site survey, design and construction
- Installation of the aerostat subsystems that make up the aerostat system
- Integration of the aerostat system with the site infrastructure
- Payloads integration including providing connectivity with the customer’s command centers and data/communications network
- On-site formal classroom training and/or on-the-job-training (OJT)
- O&M support as required
- Logistics support to integrate spares and support equipment into a tracking database
Experienced Personnel Ensure Success
TCOM FOS pools of field engineers have trained and experienced personnel with the skillsets to supply a turnkey aerostat support solution from installation and checkout (I&CO) of the system to when the system is handed over to the customer for operation and maintenance (O&M). TCOM has installed aerostat systems in more countries than any other aerostat system manufacturer.
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Advanced Aerostat Manufacturing Facilities
TCOM produces the most advanced, state-of-the-art and reliable aerostat systems in the world. This is accomplished by having the latest aerostat manufacturing technology, equipment, facilities and tooling to bring our advanced designs to life. We offer capabilities and experience manufacturing aerostat and airship flex structures, mooring stations, avionics, tethers and ground support equipment.
Complete Systems Manufacturing
TCOM is the only LTA Company in the world that has a facility devoted to aerostat manufacturing, airship manufacturing, assembly, flight test and training operations – all in a single location. We manufacture the world’s largest aerostats and are capable of manufacturing, inflating, rigging, and testing them all while protected from the weather inside our hangar. We also perform integration and flight testing onsite at our new flight pad. Our aerostats are manufactured using highly engineered, TCOM-designed base fabric. The fabrics are then seamed together using specialized equipment designed by TCOM for the sole purpose of building our flex structures. Once assembled, they are air inflated and tested, then inflated with helium. After helium inflation, the hardware and rigging is installed which prepares the aerostat for integration with the rest of the system.
Our new, state-of-the-art mooring station manufacturing facility is conveniently located adjacent to the hangar. All assembly and testing of the mooring stations is conducted in this central facility. Prior to integration with the aerostat and surveillance components, the mooring stations are passed through a rigorous acceptance procedure to ensure all functionality. Once the mooring structure, boom, tower, and other major portions are assembled together, integration of the machinery, electrical and hydraulic systems takes place. The system’s avionics are also designed and manufactured by TCOM in an environmentally controlled area located at the headquarters facility. After all the components are procured and inspected, material kits are put into the shop for assembly and unit testing. TCOM employs a highly trained and experienced staff dedicated to wiring all the electronic items for the aerostat, mooring system and ground station. In addition, we build swivel slip-rings and perform tether termination and break testing, and perform thermal cycling and stress testing.
Once all of the electronics components have passed unit test, they are assembled together as a functional system and fully tested against rigorous acceptance standards. If payloads are available, they can be integrated at the electronics manufacturing facility or later with the complete system at the hangar. After the aerostat, mooring system, and avionics subsystems are completed, they are integrated together at the new flight pad, located at the Manufacturing Flight and Test Facility. Flight tests then begin as the complete system functionality is tested.
The Elizabeth City aerostat Manufacturing and Flight Test Facility enables TCOM to provide customers with an unparalleled level of quality assurance, training, ongoing operations and field support services. This facility has become the East Coast hub for all airship maintenance and assembly activities. The ability of TCOM to manufacture complete systems, rather than just sub-assemblies, provides us the flexibility to change quickly when needed to accommodate our customers’ needs.
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Aerostat Design: Customized to Meet the Mission
Every security mission requires a unique set of sensors integrated onto a TCOM aerostat design to form a platform system that will meet the customer’s persistent Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) mission. At the heart of every TCOM Aerostat Surveillance system lies a proven design process that effectively blends customer needs and superior engineering to create the system that will meet all of the customer’s functional requirements in a cost-effective and reliable way. The aerostat design also ensures durability and performance for the life of the system.
Experience Enables Excellence
TCOM engineers begin the aerostat design process by gathering a full understanding of the customer’s surveillance mission and operational environment. Based on this understanding and years of expert knowledge and experience, the engineers select the ideal sensor suite that will be integrated onto the Aerostat. TCOM designs also take into account the required communications, power, EMI/RFI stabilization and heading reference systems to provide a high availability airborne surveillance system. Our engineers excel at designing the ground control station as well as the fiber-optic powered tether that carries data and command information from the aerostat to the ground station. TCOM promotes, encourages and supports design engineering in their quest for technical excellence and innovation by providing the analysis tools, state-of-the-art analysis software and test facilities to enable cost effective innovative solutions to challenging aerostat design requirements. In addition, processes and mechanisms are in place to spawn new initiatives and identify emerging technologies so that TCOM engineering is always ahead of the technical curve.
TCOM’s Engineering Design group boasts an experienced staff of experts in civil, mechanical, electrical and systems engineering, aerodynamics, analog and digital communications, tether design, airborne and ground power systems, hydraulics, meteorology, logistics, installation, training, field engineering, operations and other disciplines necessary for the implementation of full-scale turnkey aerostat design projects. At TCOM we don’t just engineer superior products – we engineer success.
Total Systems Capabilities
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