Tethered to a ground station, a PTDS aerostat like this one can provide surveillance as far as 100 miles away, for weeks at a time. (Lockheed Martin)
Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) aerostats have surpassed more than one million flight hours of ISR work in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to an announcement by manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
Some 66 PTDS aerostats have been delivered since 2003. Tethered to a ground station, they can provide 24-hour surveillance as far as 100 miles away, for weeks at a time.
“They have been instrumental in providing mission overwatch, detecting improvised explosive devices and assisting in the capture of numerous high value targets and weapons caches," said Lt. Col. Michael Parodi, U.S. Army product manager for Meteorological and Target Identification Capabilities.
Lockheed Martin was awarded a $345 million last October to operate the PTDS in Afghanistan.