Old, New Technologies Combine for 24/7 Surveillance

Lockheed Martin completes latest order of Persistent Threat Detection Systems for Army

 

PTDS-US-Army_460

Since Lockheed Martin delivered the first PTDS in 2004, the Army has ordered 66 of the persistent surveillance systems as commanders quickly saw the benefits of having a cost-effective eye in the sky hovering over Iraq and Afghanistan providing around-the-clock surveillance.


When the Army needed to enhance its surveillance and intelligence gathering capability in Iraq nearly a decade ago, it turned to Lockheed Martin to add a modern twist to the lighter-than-air technology first used by the French 200 years ago. 

In 2004, Lockheed Martin delivered the first aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) – a balloon-like vehicle equipped with high tech video cameras and other sensors. Since then, the Army has ordered 66 PTDS as commanders quickly saw the benefits of having a cost-effective eye in the sky hovering over Iraq and Afghanistan providing around-the-clock surveillance.

On May 29, the 66th PTDS – the final one of the Army’s current 29-system order produced this year – was delivered to the US Army at Lockheed Martin’s Akron Airdock.

“The U.S. Army has told us PTDS continues to help keep warfighters safer,” said Colleen Arthur, director of Integrated Defense Systems for Lockheed Martin. “The real-time situational awareness it provides helps troops identify improvised explosive devices and other threats, track insurgents, and enhance overall readiness for our men and women in theater.”

Video: Aerostat Provides Security - Package

PTDS provides low-cost, continuous communications and persistent intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities not possible with other types of manned and unmanned aircraft.  Attached to a re-locatable mooring system, PTDS carries different types of surveillance and communication equipment to conduct multiple missions.

With a very large coverage area and capable of remaining aloft for more than 25 consecutive days, the PTDS has proven quite effective providing Coalition forces with real-time situational awareness of insurgent and other illegal activity. It is used to protect soldiers deployed at forward operating bases, as well as in cities to safeguard the general public.

The Department of Army Engineers and Scientists recognized PTDS as one of the Army’s Greatest Inventions of 2005, once again highlighting the value of lighter-than-air systems that were first used for surveillance by the French Army in 1794.

PTDS, a totally self sufficient system, consists of a helium-filled aerostat, tether, mobile mooring platform, mission payloads, ground control shelter, maintenance and officer shelter, power generators and material handling equipment. Lockheed Martin personnel support and maintain the PTDS in theater.

Posted on May 29, 2012