Aug 8, 2008

Inflatable Border

The Tethered Aerostat Radar System is a low-level surveillance system that uses aerostats as radar platforms. An aerostat is a lighter-than-air, inflatable, aerodynamic balloon filled with helium and air. The primary mission is to provide low-level radar surveillance along the southwest border of the United States and Mexico, the Straits of Florida and the Caribbean in support of federal agencies involved in the nation's drug interdiction program.

The following payloads have been successfully deployed on TCOM aerostats:
  • Surveillance radars of all sizes and capabilities
  • Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) collection equipment
  • Gyro-stabilized daylight, low-light level and infra-red video cameras
  • Direct television broadcast and relay
  • FM radio broadcast and relay
  • VHF/UHF, Ground Control Intercept (GCI) and microwave communications
  • Environmental monitoring equipment

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