Tactical Aerostat System Demonstrated at ANTX

Published: 08 Aug 2019

CUV Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System

Carolina Unmanned Vehicles (CUV) has announced that it has successfully demonstrated its Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System (STMPAS) at the 21st Century Maneuver, Logistics, and Force Protection Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) at USMC Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. ANTX was the culmination of Phase 1 of the “Fight the Naval Force Forward” Experimentation Campaign.

The Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System (STMPAS) is a mobile unmanned aerostat system for persistent 24/7 EO/IR Surveillance, Networked Communications Relays and Signal Intelligence collection. CUV flew missions with a gyro-stabilized Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) camera payload as well as three different radio relays provided by other companies participating in ANTX. Only one of the relay payloads was seen by CUV before arriving at ANTX, demonstrating STMPAS’ versatility and ease of accommodating varied payloads.

Many traditional aerostats cannot operate in high winds unless fairly large, typically with 200 lbs of lift or more. This large size makes them unsuitable for deployment to small isolated bases or in expeditionary operations. STMPAS uses the patented Allsopp Helikite lifting aerostat which has lifting surfaces that generate aerodynamic lift to support the blimp in winds which would drive traditional designs into the ground. With the Helikite, STMPAS can be smaller and more mobile than traditional aerostat systems yet still operate in high winds. With superior mobility, mission utility and adverse weather capability, all STMPAS equipment can fit into a single military trailer. The STMPAS blimp can fly at altitudes of 500 to 3,000 feet for long term coverage of 24 hours a day for a week or more without maintenance or downtime.

STMPAS is designed to support mobile or expeditionary operations. It is also ideal for mobile border security and post-disaster communications support. Previous versions of STMPAS were deployed by the Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) to provide ISR capability for small tactical units in Afghanistan. STMPAS is suitable for surveillance, communications relay and research for DOD and Homeland Security missions.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passions for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years.