US Army Aerostat-based PTDS Provide IED Warning
$142 million to Lockheed Martin for additional PTDS. (June 8/10)
The US Army is using tethered aerostats with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and communications in support of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) is one of the ISR tools the Army uses to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) buried along roadsides…
An aerostat is a lighter-than-air craft that relies on a ground tether for movement and often for power as well, as opposed to blimps which are self-powered, free-flying craft. DID has more coverage of military applications of aerostats.
The aerostat for the PTDS [PDF] is smaller than the aerostat used in the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS), which provides surveillance along the US-Mexican border. The PTDS aerostat is 115 feet long with 74,000 cubic feet of helium and a 1,102 pound payload; the TARS aerostat made by Lockheed Martin is 1,640 feet long with 420,000 cubic feet of helium and a 2,205 pound payload.
In addition, the mooring for the PTDS aerostat is mobile and relocatable, making it suitable for use in combat situations and difficult terrain.
In addition to the aerostat, the PTDS includes:
- tether (powered with fiber optics)
- mobile mooring platform
- mission payloads
- ground control shelter
- maintenance and officer shelter
- power generators and site handling equipment
The PTDS uses a wide-area, secure communications backbone to communicate threat information from multiple sensors to the commanders in the field.
Contracts and Key Events
June 8/10: Lockheed Martin announces that it received a $142 million award from the US Army to proivde additional PTSD to support coalition forces in Afghanistan. The majority of the work on the systems will be performed in Akron, OH, with additional work in Cape Canaveral, FL, Moorestown, NJ, and Owego, NY.
Oct 7/09: Lockheed Martin announces that it received a $133 million award to provide the US Army with 8 additional PTDS to support coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nov 29/06: Lockheed Martin announces that it received a $77.5 million contract to provide additional PTDS to support coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lockheed Martin will assemble and test the integrated aerostats, sensors, ground stations and mooring systems at its Defense and Surveillance Systems facility in Akron. Lockheed Martin delivered its first PTDS unit to the Army in 2004.