Unmanned Aerostats and Lighter Than Air Technology

Always there.
Always on.

Lockheed Martin has specialized in Lighter Than Air (LTA) technology for over 75 years, delivering persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems to government and civil customers worldwide. Lockheed Martin offers manned, unmanned, tethered, and untethered systems for civil applications including the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol.






BORDER Security


Infrastructure Protection





Persistent surveillance capability detects, identifies, and
tracks specific moving objects and people.


Persistent surveillance systems have been in production for 75 years with thousands supporting operations worldwide.


The Aerostat system includes mooring platforms, mission payloads, ground control, maintenance and sensor integration architecture.


Video: Lockheed Martin’s PTDS provides critical capabilities to find, fix, track, target, and engage threats.






Persistent 74K Aerostat System


With more than 1 million combat mission flight hours, the robust design, communications relay and C4 integration on the 74K aerostat system supports the automated interoperability between tactical/theater surveillance assets and the dissemination of threat data to operational forces to aid interdiction of hostile fires and unconventional threats. The 74K aerostat system leverages a wide-area, secure communications backbone for the integration of threat reporting from multiple available sensor assets.


Persistent 420K Aerostat System


The 420K Aerostat System is the standard configuration selected for the U.S. Southern Border Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS). All TARS are equipped and integrated with Lockheed Martin’s L88 wide area surveillance radar.

The 420K is the only large aerostat system in daily operation in the United States. The TARS units provide low-level radar surveillance in several locations in support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security border protection missions.

Each TARS is optimized to detect low, slow flying aircraft, and maritime and surface targets.


Persistent Tailored Aerostat System

Persistent Infrastructure Protection
Tailored Aerostat System

As a proven Systems Integrator, Lockheed Martin’s decades of Aerostat System design, build, test and support experience offers the ability to tailor surveillance systems for specific locations, requirements and threats. Customized payloads can provide long range radar detection to EO/IR systems providing high quality camera/video imaging to communication gear to distribute/disseminate information to other assets and C4I networks.  The Lockheed Martin-designed aerostat systems offer persistent surveillance over natural gas and crude oil pipelines, refineries, power plants, dams, water distribution services, and telecommunication networks.

As our world becomes more suspect to terrorist incursions and threats, more  military, civil and commercial industries are turning to Lockheed Martin to incorporate cost-effective Aerostat Systems to provide information, security and safety to facilities critical to energy, industry and business concerns. 


Persistent 56K Aerostat System



The 56K Aerostat System was in operation from 1988 –1994 by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Mobile Aerostat Program to provide drug interdiction and illegal migration in the Caribbean.

The Mobile Aerostat Program consisted of sea-based units, deployed aboard ships and mounted to radar and surveillance equipment.






The High Altitude Airship is an unmanned, untethered, lighter-than-air vehicle operating autonomously in the stratosphere for sustained, ultra long endurance missions as a stable, geostationary platform suitable for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications.


High Altitude Long Endurance Demonstrator (HALE-D)

The HALE-D was developed as a proof of concept system to assess the feasibility of HAA technologies.

Driven by two electric propulsion motors, the HALE-D validated several key technologies including a solar-based regenerative power system, advanced hull materials, and a unique trim system, all while demonstrating safe operations of an unmanned LTA system in national air space.