Satellite Technology Feature Article
Raven Aerostar Helps in Detecting Illegal Activity Across U.S. Border
By Nathesh, TMCnet Contributor
The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, in an effort to review the surveillance systems across the U.S. border, deployed a three-member team in Nogales, Arizona to help identify and detect illegal activity across the border. Raven Aerostar was part of the team and it offered its tethered aerostat system for the demonstration.
Raven Aerostar claimed that it offers rapid deployment and turnkey persistent surveillance solutions for a multitude of needs including port security, homeland security, critical infrastructure, FOB surveillance, communications relay and more. The company’s standard tethered aerostat system configuration will fly user payloads weighing up to 420 pounds to 2000 feet Above Ground Level (AGL (News - Alert)) on a standard atmospheric day and flight altitudes up to 3000 feet can be accommodated with the standard system configuration.
The tethered aerostat that was provided for identifying and detecting border activity at Nogales is part of the Flexible Area Surveillance Technology, a joint persistent situational awareness product with partner L-3 Communications. The tethered aerostat helps the FAST (News - Alert) systems carry the L-3 Wescam sensor as part of its payload. And a third partner, Logos Technologies, supplied its new Kestrel sensor to operate in conjunction with the L-3 sensor.
L-3 explained that the FAST systems installed on tethered aerostats offer a turnkey solution including WESCAM MX turrets, comm. relays and radios, MTI (News - Alert) RADARS, Video Scout operator workstations, interoperability with L-3 ROVER and other surveillance capabilities. The FAST aerostat systems are trailer based and can be transported by truck, helicopter or other means.
Raven added that the Border Patrol will be testing the new surveillance systems Raven and its partners have offered and will evaluate the capacity it will offer in the border environment. Only the success of this test would define whether DHS and CPB decide to procure systems for use along the border in the future but initial results from the demo have so far been positive for Raven.
“Our aerostats and sensors have many thousands of hours of persistent flight time throughout Afghanistan providing military intelligence in order to defend our troops from IEDs and other insurgent activity around our forward bases. That mission has proven modern aerostats to be one of the most reliable and cost-efficient platforms in the world for persistent surveillance. The team couldn't be happier with the results that U.S. Border Agents are demonstrating by adapting this proven technology to our borders,” said Lon Stroschein, vice president and general manager at Raven Aerostar, in a press release.
Edited by Rich Steeves