12 June 2013 naval-technology.com
Raven Aerostar has successfully deployed a turnkey maritime persistent surveillance solution to meet an urgent operational requirement needed to support US Southern Command's effort to boost surveillance in the Carribean Sea, following completion of trials.
Deployed aboard the US Navy's HSV-2 Swift (HSV-2) chartered high-speed vessel, the surveillance solution comprised Raven Aerostar Tethered aerostat system integrated with Vista smart sensing radar system, General Dynamics electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) camera, and data link.
During the month-long testing, the Aerostar aerostat system flew at 2,000ft above ground level (AGL) without any changes to the sea frame from the HSV-2, while providing increased detection, recognition and identification capabilities.
Raven Aerostar programme manager Craig Laws said that the aerostat has validated its ability to support critical operations even in rough seas and strong winds during flight operation trials.
The Joint Interagency Task Force South has shared the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data gathered by the Raven Aerostar solution and the Puma unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) onboard the ship.
"The HSV-2 pulled the aerostat over 3,000nm during the course of downrange operations, topping out at a ship speed of 28k," Laws said.
Raven Aerostar president Lon Stroschein added: "Our team was excited to prove the aerostat, a perceived 'old' technology, can provide cost-effective, mission enhancing, maritime capabilities when integrated with high-performance sensors like the Vista radar and General Dynamics camera."
US Naval Forces CN programme manager/unmanned aircraft systems commander Ted J Venable said: "By incorporating this system on a moving vessel, it provided a broad picture of the surface and air traffic around the HSV SWIFT.
"The entire team of participants in this effort gained valuable experience and developed procedures to apply to future deployments."