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Aerostats retain their relevance

1st November 2021 - 18:07 GMT | by Jean-Marc Tanguy in Paris

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Rheinmetall persistent surveillance system. (Photo: Rheinmetall)

Militaries remain interested in low-altitude tethered balloons for base protection, or airships as high-altitude platforms for ISR and communications relay missions.

For all the C4ISR capabilities offered by fixed-wing UAS platforms, there is still a role for aerostats or tethered balloons to carry out military reconnaissance and surveillance missions at high altitudes.

Advocates for aerostats claim the balloons can carry a diverse payload of EO, radar or even EW systems at a lower implementation cost than a fixed-wing uncrewed aircraft, and they can also be employed as communications relay hubs to improve signal transmission in mountainous terrain.

Examples include the Russian AVK-05 tethered aerostat equipped with EO sensors so that (under optimal conditions) it can survey a radius of 10km …

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