News: Aerostat balloon provides “eyes in the sky” for enhanced security in Uruzgan province
Story by Spc. Jennifer Spradlin
MULTI NATIONAL BASE TARIN KOT, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces expanded their capability to impede insurgent activities in the Uruzgan province with the launch of the Persistent Threat Detection System at Multi National Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, Dec. 7.
The PTDS is comprised of a moored Aerostat balloon that is approximately 35 meters in length, made from a durable, multi-layer fabric that is suitable to all environments and filled with helium, a lighter-than-air gas. The Aerostat balloon is equipped with surveillance and communications equipment.
“The [PTDS] is going to be very effective for catching insurgent activity,” said Frank Dziegielewski, site manager and Lockheed Martin representative. “We’ll be able to watch roadways and routes in order to catch people planting IEDs in the middle of the night, detect possible points of origin for indirect fire against the base, and provide patrol over-watch.”
The PTDS has similar capabilities to an unmanned aerial vehicle but can be flown up to a month without having to be refueled. Dziegielewski said that the technology would allow ANSF and Coalition Forces to respond quicker to insurgent threats.
“We can get the camera on them right away,” said Dziegielewski.
Local Afghan media were invited to attend the official launch of the Aerostat balloon where key ANSF and Combined Team Uruzgan leadership explained the benefits of the new surveillance system.
“Most victims of IEDs are local nationals. Now that the balloon is watching the roads, Uruzgan will be safer,” said Brig. Gen. Juma Gul Hemat, Provincial Chief of Police.
Col. Jim Creighton, CTU Commander, explained that the Aerostat balloon would be used to root out insurgents in the area and not invade the privacy of local civilians.
“The [Aerostat] is tied directly to the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army and their ability to identify bad people identify people laying mines and doing things against the population of Uruzgan,” said Col. Creighton. He said the Aerostat balloon would have a large impact on the security of Tarin Kot and its citizens.
This work, Aerostat balloon provides “eyes in the sky” for enhanced security in Uruzgan province, by SSG Jennifer Spradlin, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.