The USA’s RAID Program: Small Systems, Big Surveillance Time
The RAID program is a combination of cameras and surveillance equipment positioned on high towers and aerostats, in order to monitor a wide area around important locations and bases. The RAID concept began with a smaller TCOM 17M aerostat as the base platform, instead of the TCOM 71M JLENS aerostats used for cruise missile and air defense. Its sensors were also optimized for battlefield surveillance, rather than JLENS’ focus on powerful air defense radars. The result is a form of survivable and permanent surveillance over key areas that has been deployed to Afghanistan & Iraq.
“Aerostats” has actually become something of a misnomer, however – RAID can also be deployed as a tower system, and this “Eagle Eye/ GBOSS” deployment is turning out to be the preferred mode. Raytheon continues to receive contracts from the US Marine Corps and US Army for new towers, as well as maintenance of existing systems:
RAID: Components and Features
Aerostats differ from blimps in that blimps are powered, while aerostats are anchored to the ground via a cranked tether that also supplies electrical power. Because the aerostats are not highly pressurized, bullets won’t burst them; they can actually remain buoyant for hours after suffering multiple punctures.
The RAID system’s most popular mode, however, appears to be as a 100 foot tall telescoping tower system, which is used to provide surveillance over critical infrastructure positions, bases, etc. As of June 2009, more than 300 RAID systems have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Surveillance equipment includes FLIR Systems’ Star SAFIRE III, an advanced surveillance turret with optional targeting additions. The small 100+ pound turret combines critical spectral information from infrared imager with Image Intensified Low-Light cameras or long-range Spotter Scopes. Moving targets can be followed with the multi-mode Autotracker.
Star SAFIRE III also has a number of optional laser payloads that can be used to covertly illuminate wide areas (illuminator), point out distant targets to other forces (pointer), and determine target distance and location (rangefinder/ targeting). Releases indicate that RAID/GBOSS systems include rangefinding options, but do not mention the other functions.
RAID: Contracts & Key Events
Unless otherwise noted, all contracts are managed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, AL. Coverage will end at the end of FY 2011.
The gyro-stabilized surveillance turret includes a long-range daylight camera and thermal mid-wave infrared imager, multi-sensor target acquisition, a laser range finder, and digital magnetic compass and target geo-location device stabilized gimbal assembly. It can’t target opponents, but it can pass target locations to platforms and weapons that can. The pan-and-tilt system is similar, but it doesn’t have multi-sensor acquisition, and swaps mapping software for the digital magnetic compass (N00164-11-G-JQ72).
June 23/11: FLIR Systems, Inc. in Wilsonville, OR received a $10.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for repairs, refurbishments, and spares for sensor components of the Legacy Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) and RAID Base Expeditionary Targeting and Surveillance Systems-Combined, Cerberus, and Cerberus Lite systems that are fielded in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Southeast Asia.
Work will be performed in Portland, OR, and Boston, MA, with an estimated completion date of June 19/12. The U.S. Army Space and Missile Command /ARSRAT Contracting and Acquisition Management Office in Huntsville, AL manages the contracts (W9113M-11-C-0064).
Oct 13/10: Sarnoff Corp. in Princeton, NJ receives a $6.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for 50 standard ground station maintenance kits in support of the RAID system, marked for deployment to Afghanistan.
Work is to be performed in Princeton, NJ, with an estimated completion date of Nov 25/10. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the CECOM Contracting Center at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD (W15P7T-10-P-S223).
Oct 04/10: ManTech International Corporation announces a task order under its Strategic Services Sourcing (S3) prime contract to provide Base Expeditionary Target Surveillance Systems-Combined (BETSS-C) operators in Iraq. The multiple-award task order, in support of the U.S. Army’s Project Manager Night Vision/Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (PM NV/RSTA), has an initial period of performance of 12 months and 2 optional 6-month extensions. The expected value to ManTech is $70 million if all contract options are exercised.
Under the contract, ManTech will provide BETSS-C operators and related administrative, managerial, logistics and business services necessary to support their deployment to Iraq. BETSS-C is a back-end coordination platform that makes use of RAID/GBOSS data, providing commanders with a digital map display of video, images and other information from ground sensors, pan-tilt-zoom cameras, mid- and long-range electro-optical/infrared sensors and radar mounted on towers, aerostats and other unmanned airborne vehicles.
July 27/10: Raytheon announces a $23 million extension contract to continue providing support and spares for RAID systems deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Work will be performed at Raytheon IDS’ Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA, and at its Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL.
April 23/10: DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc. in Saint Louis, MO received a $9.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 71 manportable surveillance target and acquisition radars (MSTAR), a component of the Ground-Based Operational Surveillance System (GBOSS). The MSTAR locates moving targets and uniquely classifies them as personnel on foot, tracked vehicles, or wheeled vehicles, and is used on the GBOSS.
Work will be performed in Saint Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete by December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $9.8 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-10-C-GR92).
July 16/09: FLIR Systems, Inc. in Wilsonville, OR receives a $36.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for Star SAFIRE III sensors for the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment Tower System. Work is to be performed in Wilsonville, OR, with an estimated completion date of March 31/10. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the U.S. Army Space & missile Defense Command in Huntsville, AL (W9113M-07-D-004).
June 3/09: Raytheon receives a $6.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide mission support and system sustainment for various configurations of RAID tower systems. Work is to be performed at Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/09. One bid was solicited and one bid received (W9113M-08-C-0153).
May 22-24/09: A RAID aerostat is demonstrated at the famous Indianapolis 500 motor race. Equipped with EO/IR sensors, video and communications sensors, the aerostat was demonstrated to officials involved in security and spectator safety.
April 23/09: Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $28.7 million cost plus fixed fee contract that provides mission support and system sustainment for various configurations of the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) tower system. Work will be performed in Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/09. One bid was solicited and one bid received (W9113M-08-C-0153).
Jan 7/09: FLIR Systems announces:
“…two delivery orders totaling $30.4 million from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama for its Star SAFIRE III stabilized multi sensor systems. These delivery orders were issued under a previously announced contract modification of an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. The units delivered under these orders will be employed in the Base Expeditionary and Surveillance Systems – Combined (BETSS-C) and the Ground Based Operational Surveillance System (GBOSS) programs.”
Nov 21/08: FLIR Systems Inc in Wilsonville, OR received a $12.9 million firm-fixed-fee price contract for “Star FIRE III sensors and related cables and hardware, for the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) sensor components.” As noted previously, these are almost certainly Star SAFIRE III Work will be performed in Wilsonville, Ore., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. US Army Space & Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, AL is the contracting activity (W9113M-07-D-0004). FLIR Systems’ release adds:
“The $12.9 million delivery order is issued under a previously announced $358.4 million contract modification on an existing indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. The units delivered under this order will support the Marine Corps Ground-Based Operational Surveillance System (G-BOSS) program. Work on the delivery order will be completed within the next twelve months in FLIR’s Wilsonville, Oregon facility.
The PBL contract provides for service, upgrades, and logistics support for certain U.S. Army and USMC programs. The $11.2 million modification fully funds an existing $71.6 million contract. Including deliveries made year-to-date, revenue under this modified contract is expected to be approximately $15 million in 2008. Work under the PBL contract will be performed over time as required to support the installed base of Star SAFIRE III and THV-3000 systems in use under these programs. “
Sept 10/08: Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA receives a $29.2 million cost plus award fee contract for mission support and system sustainment for various RAID tower system configurations. Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/11. One bid was solicited and one bid was received (W9113M-08-C-0153).
Sept 9/08: FLIR Systems, Inc. in Wilsonville, OR received a $96.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for “Starfire III sensors and related cables and hardware, for the Rapid Aerostat initial deployment sensor components.” Note that FLIR does not make a Starfire sensor, but they do make the Star SAFIRE III, which has received previous RAID contracts.
Work will be performed in Wilsonville, OR with an estimated completion date of July 31/09. One bid was solicited and one bid was received (W9113M-07-D-0004).
Aug 28/08: FLIR Systems, Inc. announces an $11.1 million modification to a Performance Based Logistics (PBL) support contract from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, AL for service, upgrades, and logistics support for the installed base of Star SAFIRE-III and THV-3000 systems. Note that these systems are installed in other platforms besides RAID/GBOSS.
FLIR Systems reports that the total value of this contract has been increased to $71.6 million, and that revenue under this modified contract is expected to be approximately $15 million in 2008.
Work under this contract will be performed over time as required, to support FLIR products in use under these programs.
Aug 20/08: Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $27.6 million cost plus fixed fee contract modification. It provides incremental funding to support 100 more BETSS-C/RAID (base expeditionary targeting and surveillance system-combined, rapid aerostat initial deployment systems).
Work is to be performed at Andover, MD, with an estimated completion date of May 1/09. One bid was solicited and one bid was received (W9113M-08-C-0171). Raytheon release.
July 28/08: FLIR Systems, Inc. in Wilsonville, OR receives a $21.6 million firm-fixed price contract for G-BOSS initial deployment sensor components. Work will be performed in Wilsonville, OR and is expected to be complete by Jan 30/09. One bid was solicited on July 11/08 (W9113M-07-D-0004).
July 28/08: FLIR Systems, Inc. in Wilsonville, OR receives an $8.4 million firm-fixed price contract to RESET RAID initial deployment sensor components to their original condition. Work will be performed in Wilsonville, OR, and is expected to be complete by Jan30/09. One bid was solicited from the original manufacturer on July 14/08 (W9113M-07-D-0004).
June 19/08: Mantech International Corp. announces a potential $118 million contract from the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command to support a variety of different surveillance systems deployed throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, including RAID, GBOSS, and the Base Expeditionary Target Surveillance System.
The competitively awarded 3-year effort is part of the Strategic Services Sourcing contract, and ManTech is a subcontractor to CSC. ManTech and will provide a substantial level of the services ordered under the contract including deployed fielding support, maintenance and repair; logistics management; sustainment support; and resource management, acquisition and administrative support for unique and specialized systems. These services will be provided in Southwest Asia – including Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
June 11/08: Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $22 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for RAID III tower systems with base defense operations center. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by July 31/08. One bid was solicited on June 26/07 (W9113M-07-C-0002).
June 10/08: CAS, Inc. in Huntsville, AL received a $9 million cost-plus fixed fee contract for mission and sustainment support for the rapid aerostat initial deployment product office. Work will be performed in Huntsville, AL and is expected to be complete by June 2/10. One bid was solicited on May 5/05 (W9113M-05-C-0134).
May 5/08: Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $24.4 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for mission support and system sustainment for configurations of rapid aerostat initial deployment tower systems. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be completed by April 1/09. One bid was solicited on April 1/08 (W9113M-08-C-0153).
A June 23/08 release from Raytheon places the total contract value at $76.2 million; the $24.4 million amount is just the initial funding.
April 9/08: Raytheon announces a $60 million contract option to provide the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq with RAID-derivative Ground Based Operational Surveillance System (GBOSS) towers. Work will be performed at Raytheon IDS’ Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA, and Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL.
GBOSS provides persistent surveillance using infrared sensors elevated on a stationary platform. Enhancements unique to GBOSS include the addition of a second electro-optical infrared sensor for a broader field of view, and ground-based radar networked into a single remote ground control station. The Raytheon release adds that:
“Earlier versions of the RAID system employed an aerostat to elevate the sensors. The current tower-based systems provide an enhanced capability with fewer logistics concerns.”
Jan 3/08: Raytheon announces 2 U.S. Army contract modifications worth $18.2 million to provide Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for RAID systems. The first award, valued at $13.2 million, expands the current CLS contract to support an additional 41 RAID and 9 Eagle Eye elevated sensor systems being delivered through February 2008 as part of the RAID production contract.
The second contract, valued at $5 million, calls for additional spares to support the RAID aerostats currently in operation in Iraq. Work on both contracts will be performed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA, and the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL. Raytheon release.
Sept 10/07: Raytheon announces a $5 million U.S. Army contract option to provide 9 Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) Mobile Eagle Eye tower systems to protect U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. Deliveries will begin in February 2008, and work will be performed at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems’ Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; and at the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL Raytheon release.
June 25/07: Raytheon announces a $10.4 million U.S. Army contract modification to provide whole-life engineering support for the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) systems protecting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The contract calls for total life-cycle support and management for more than 150 elevated sensor systems, including remote operation capability, through March 2008. Raytheon release.
May 17/07: Raytheon announces a $10.1 million U.S. Army contract option to provide 16 Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) Tower Systems with Base Defense Operation Centers and remote operation capability, to help protect U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deliveries will begin in June 2007 and end in September 2007. Work will be performed at Raytheon IDS’ Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; and its Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL. Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC will provide field support.
In addition to supplying the systems, Raytheon is responsible for providing a systems engineering approach that involves linking RAID to other existing Army systems and providing whole life engineering support.
Oct 24/06: FLIR Systems Inc. in Wilsonville, OR received an initial delivery order amount of $14.2 million as part of a $74.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for FLIR Star SAFIRE III sensors and related hardware for the rapid aerostat initial deployment (RAID) system. Work will be performed in Wilsonville, OR and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Sept. 21, 2006 (W9113M-07-D-0001).
The Star SAFIRE III uses a long-range, mid-wave 640×480 thermal imager, haze-penetrating spotter scope, I2 imager, three optional laser payloads, and fully-integrated IMU/GPS navigation sub-system that can relay the coordinates of things it sees to other platforms.
Oct 5/06: Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received an $11.5 million increment as part of a $23.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) system and RAID Eagle Eye systems. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by Aug. 30, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Sept. 25, 2006 (W9113M-07-C-0002).
Sept 26/06: FLIR Systems Inc. in Wilsonville, OR received the full delivery order amount of $25.5 million as part of a firm-fixed-price contract for Star SAFIRE Sensors for the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) System. Work will be performed in Wilsonville, OR and is expected to be complete by March 31, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Sept. 19, 2006 (W9113M-05-D-0002). A FLIR, Inc. press release identifies the sensors in question as Star SAFIRE IIIs.
April 5/06: Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA received a $5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Contractor Logistics Support to the RAID Product Office. Work will be performed in Andover, MA and is expected to be complete by Oct. 31, 2006. This was a sole source contract initiated on March 9, 2006 (W9113M-06-C-0128).
- Soldiers Magazine (February 2005) – Blimp RAID: Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment system
- GlobalSecurity.org – Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor [JLENS]. Notes RAID deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan.
- Raytheon Feature – Raytheon’s Lighter-Than-Air Systems Provide ISR
- DID FOCUS Article – JLENS: Co-ordinating Cruise Missile Defense – And More. RAID evolved out of the JLENS cruise missile/air defense program.
- USAF Fact Sheet – Tethered Aerostat Radar System. Not JLENS, but has good background re: aerostat construction and internal design.
- Aeronautics Defence Systems Ltd. (June 11/07) – IDF Chooses ISR Aerostats and UAVs from Aeronautics. “The Skystar 300 aerostat, which carries a stabilized day/night observation payload to a height of 1,000 ft, has already been deployed by the IDF at several active fronts. In view of the system’s successful operational performance, the [Israeli Defence Forces] will expand its use.”
- Pentagon DefenseLINK (Aug 12/05) – Latest Military Technologies Being Employed by U.S. Soldiers. Presenter: Colonel Gregory Tubbs, Director, Rapid Equipping Force. “JLENS is a very sophisticated camera system that — they can either be on towers or on these blimps, and that provides us a persistent stare or persistent surveillance type capability…” He’s actually talking about RAID, which the REF quickly derived from the JLENS program.
- Air Defense Artillery Magazine (April-June 2005) – See PDF of Magazine Issue. The RAID system is mentioned in a pair of articles covering Iraq and Afghanistan experiences: “1-62 Air Defense Artillery Writes Final Chapter of Its History” (pp. 27-30) and “How ADA Sentinel Teams Helped Restore Democracy to Afghanistan” (pp. 34-35).
- Army News Service (Oct 13/04) – JLENS RAID provides commanders ‘persistent stare’ capability. “Most of the systems currently being used are on towers. The Army has 19 RAID towers. They are a mix of 84-foot quick-erect and 30-foot and 60-foot telescope mast towers. The Army is also using three 15-meter aerostats — large blimp-shaped, helium-filled balloons — which are tethered to its truck transports to get the RAID sensor above the battlefield. Some of the aerostats have taken enemy fire without any major mishap, Heine said. ‘We just patched it up, topped it off with helium and sent it back up,’ he said.”
- Boing Boing (Oct 12/04) – Blimp networks guard US troops
- CNN (Sept 27/04) – An eye in the sky