DRONE Aviation Corp

Tactical Tethered Aerostats for Military Surveillance

DRONE Aviation Corp
Tactical Tethered Aerostats for Military Surveillance

Drone Aviation Corp (DRNE) is a leading developer of unique aerial solutions for national security and defense.

Our tethered aerostat systems, based around a proprietary “smart leash” technology that provides persistent and reliable control, power and communications, bridge the gap between large, complex aerostats and small short-endurance drones.

Our tethered aerial platforms have undergone over ten years of testing and operation, and currently serve key tier-one customers including the United States Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. They provide multi-mission capabilities, extending the range of communications, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) and SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) and providing persistent silent protection, day or night.

WASP Tethered Aerostat

Tactical aerostat for persistent surveillance

WASP Tethered Aerostat

The Winch Aerostat Small Platform (WASP) is a mobile tactical aerostat capable of fielding a variety of payloads for communications, ISR and SIGINT, extending network range and enabling persistent connectivity.

Requiring only two crew members to operate, the WASP tethered aerostat can be deployed from a truck or a HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle/Humvee). The balloon can be set up and launched in 30 minutes, the system is rapidly reconfigurable and provides operational endurance of more than 72 hours. Its unique aerodynamic construction provides superior lift efficiency and stability enabling it to operate in winds up to 35mph with gusts up to 45mph.

The WASP has been evaluated by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), participating in a series of Network Integration Experiments (NIE), and is recognized as an indispensable solution for the warfighter. Benefits include:

  • Assured communications to the tactical edge
  • Links Aviation (Roamer Net) and Ground Maneuver (SINCGARS to SRW)
  • Operational dispersion and increased OPTEMPO
  • Reduces need to relocate existing communications towers forward, decreasing risk to battlefield personnel
  • Supports scouts/special units that operate beyond the existing network
  • Enhances Mission Command on the Move.

The WASP system features a universal payload mount with a payload capacity of 20 to 130lbs and a flight altitude of up to 1500 ft AGL. It can be configured at a variety of levels, providing operational ranges of up to 8 km for human detection and up to 40 miles for communications.


Level 1 ISR payload with dual sensors, EO+LWIR
90mm Varifocal IR at 4.8 degree FOV
Human detection 2 miles
Lightweight, low cost, all-weather
Kingfisher Aerostat K15N-HC (Net lift 42 lbs, Helium vol 1300 cu. ft.)
Level 2 ISR payload with dual sensors, HD EO+MWIR
155mm IR varifocal lens at 2.75 degree FOV
Human detection 3 miles
Optional laser range finder
Kingfisher Aerostat K16N-HC (Net lift 54 lbs, Helium vol 1600 cu. ft.)
Level 3 ISR payload with HD EO+MWIR
200mm IR varifocal lens at 1.9 degree FOV
Laser range finder
Human detection 4 miles
Kingfisher Aerostat K17N-HC (Net lift 65 lbs, Helium vol 1900 cu. ft.)
Level 4 Wescam MX8 ISR payload with dual sensors, EO+MWIR
230mm IR varifocal lens at 2.75 degree FOV
Common architecture with MX 10, compatible with USG infrastructure/GCS
Human detection 7.5 miles
Kingfisher Aerostat K18N-HC (Net lift 90 lbs, Helium vol 2500 cu. ft.)

Learn more: WASP Tethered Aerostat

WASP Lite Aerostat

Compact, highly mobile tethered aerostat

The WASP Lite is a compact aerostat offering a smaller footprint than the larger WASP system. Highly mobile, it can be deployed virtually anywhere – from a rooftop, pickup truck, boat or utility vehicle.

The balloon can be set up and launched by a single operator in 20 minutes, and while deployed or moored it can be relocated at speeds of up to 40mph.

Providing more than 36 hours of flight endurance, the WASP Lite aerostat takes it primary power from batteries, which can be recharged with a small generator.

WASP Lite Tethered AerostatLike the WASP tethered aerostat, the WASP Lite can be equipped with a variety of payloads for ISR, communications and SIGINT missions, providing an extremely versatile solution for extending situational awareness on the battlefield.


Payload lift capacity: 15 – 35 lbs
Flight altitude: Up to 500ft AGL
Launch altitude: Up to 6000ft AMSL
Human detection range: 5.5+ miles with DAC 350 payload

Learn more: WASP Lite Aerostat

Tethered Aerostat Applications

Tethered aerostats for military applications

Military & Homeland Security Applications

The WASP and WASP Lite tethered aerostats enhance military and homeland security capabilities, providing tactical and persistent aerial intelligence. Designed for a number of missions, including communications relay, ISR, force protection, and convoy escort.

Tethered aerostats for Federal and Civil applicationsFederal & Civil Agency Applications

The WASP and WASP Lite portable tethered aerostats can be deployed quickly for a wide variety of Federal & Civil Agency applications. Providing extended flight times, they are ideal for border patrol, port security, law enforcement, and emergency response.

Tethered aerostat for commercial applicationsCommercial Applications

The WASP and WASP Lite tethered aerostats provide mobile persistence, making them key assets for commercial and civilian operations such as traffic monitoring, land survey and management, facilities monitoring, news gathering, and large event security.

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