A Beginner’s Guide to Aerostats

…In the last 30 years and even more so in recent years, as threats and technology have evolved and the need for 24/7 ISR has increased, helium-filled balloons—aerostats—have returned to the field. They are increasingly recognized as useful tools for long-term continuous ISR, as they overcome the greatest disadvantage of aircraft-based systems – limited fuel and flight time. They may also provide a visual deterrence to illegal activity, as they are lowered only for refueling and maintenance sessions…


TCOM 74M aerostat__Youtube
Surveillance and communication – the enormous TCOM 74M aerostat. Photo credit: TCOM

Logos demos first and only wide-area sensor for export at TCOM’s Center of Excellence in Elizabeth City, NC

View Business Wire press link for this article HERE

FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Logos Technologies successfully demonstrated its new, lightweight Simera wide-area sensor aboard an aerostat, or tethered blimp, at TCOM’s Persistent Surveillance Solutions Center of Excellence in Elizabeth City, N.C.

“It’s the smallest aerostat-mounted WAMI system with this level of capability being marketed and sold abroad”

The demonstration, which took place in February and followed on the heels of field tests in late January, proved the maturity of the Simera airborne wide area motion imagery (WAMI) system for both military and civilian customers.

“Simera was able to locate and track targets of interest over a city-sized area in real time,” says John Marion, president of Logos Technologies, LLC, “and its TiVo-like recording function allowed operators to analyze activity captured within Simera’s 360-degree field of view.”

Simera is based on Kestrel, the only aerostat-based WAMI sensor used on the battlefield. Also developed by Logos, Kestrel has been deployed at forward operating bases in Afghanistan since 2011, providing troops with round-the-clock protection against IED attacks.

Weighing only 40lbs (18 kg), Simera can be employed on a wider variety of platforms than Kestrel, including fast-to-deploy tactical aerostats. In addition, it is not subject to the same export restrictions.

“It’s the smallest aerostat-mounted WAMI system with this level of capability being marketed and sold abroad,” Marion notes.

Logos has a long history developing WAMI sensors. It pioneered the first such system for manned aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan and has since been miniaturizing its WAMI sensors for use on both tactical aerostats and small unmanned aircraft.

Aerostat manufacturer TCOM opened its Center of Excellence last year in order to provide government and private industry a site where they could conduct integration testing for platforms, payloads and data processing, exploitation and exploitation technologies.

About Logos Technologies

Founded in 1996, Logos Technologies LLC is a diversified science, engineering and technology company specializing in the fields of advanced sensors, wide area motion imagery, cyber operations, advanced analytics and processing of large, multisource datasets. Logos serves government customers including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security, as well as a range of customers in commercial and international markets. Learn more at



Logos Technologies LLC
Susan Kerin
Director of Communications




Technical Documentation to Improve Operations

While TCOM’s aerostat surveillance systems are less costly and less complex than many of the alternatives (such as manned aircraft, satellites, and large UAV’s), TCOM’s systems are, none the less, extremely sophisticated. As such, accurate and understandable documentation is required to support the operation and maintenance of our systems wherever they are deployed. To address this need TCOM relies on our Technical Documentation Group which is made up of individuals with the diverse technical backgrounds needed to cover all aspects of the system. Most possess advanced degrees and many have extensive military experience, particularly in aircraft flight and maintenance. The Technical Documentation Group produces the necessary supporting documentation for every Aerostat Surveillance System including:

  • Theory and Operations Manuals
  • Preventive and Corrective Maintenance Manuals
  • Supporting drawings and parts lists

Formatted for Multiple Devices

The manuals can be written either to our own best commercial practices standards, or to a variety of MIL STDs as required by the customer. While most customers still desire paper manuals for aerostat documentation, electronic versions of our manuals are now available online if requested. TCOM has worked with the U. S. Army in developing Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETMs) in accordance with the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) standard, S1000D. TCOM is currently developing searchable interactive documentation that will be portable across a variety of platforms such as PC’s, laptops, and mobile devices.

Documentation to Facilitate Training

TCOM trained customer Operations & Maintenance personnel using TCOM generated aerostat documentation has proven successful in increasing on-station time and further lowering life cycle costs of Persistent Airborne Surveillance in some of the most troubled regions of the world.

  • Accurate and Comprehensive Information prepared by an experienced staff
  • Choice of Electronic or Paper Format
  • Increases protection while lowering costs
  • Optimized for mobile devices