Drone Aviation, a manufacturer of tethered drones and lighter-than-air aerostats, has successfully completed the integration of Government-furnished ISR equipment supporting the simultaneous use of communications and optical payload packages onto the Winch Aerostat Small Platform (WASP) tactical aerostat under its most recent contract award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
Under terms of the integration contracts valued in excess of $346,000, Drone Aviation has integrated both advanced communications and optical sensors onto the WASP adding new mission capabilities that were previously only available on much larger, multi-million-dollar stationary aerostat systems such as the Persistent Ground Surveillance System (PGSS) aerostats.
With these new capabilities, the WASP aerostat can now support multiple advanced communications and optical payloads simultaneously, greatly expanding its mission flexibility to include a wider array of ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) support requirements.
The upgraded payload system now also includes secure voice and data network range extension highlighted by the ability to extend communications to over 30km.
This secure communications range extension is made possible by a unique and proprietary architecture providing encryption technology enabling the radio asset to be safely located at the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) or other facility on the ground, rather than on the airborne aerostat.
“Today’s military and security forces are increasingly demanding persistent, mobile, small footprint tactical solutions that can do more without high acquisition costs and significant contractor logistical support, requirements that the WASP is uniquely able to meet,” said Bruce Hardy, Vice President of Sales of Drone Aviation.
“With completion of this latest integration contract, the WASP continues to demonstrate the platform’s unmatched tactical ISR and communications capabilities and its unique ability to provide flexible mobile operations to meet the most demanding military mission requirements.”
The WASP is a highly tactical and mobile aerostat system which can be operated by as few as two soldiers and can provide day/night video and wireless communication range extension from either a fixed, stationary position or while being towed.
Over the past four years, U.S. Army-owned WASP systems have successfully completed thousands of hours of soldier training operations, various DoD exercises, and customer operations.
WASP is currently being utilized by the DoD as a mobile, tactical aerial solution that can support various ISR mission profiles involving ground-based assets as well as aerial assets through communication retransmission.
Operating at altitudes of up to 1,500 feet AGL with launch sites at 6,000 feet ASL, the WASP system can significantly extend ISR capabilities and communications in remote and austere locations.
The soldier-operated systems can be rapidly configured to support a variety of mission requirements for days, weeks or months with customized payloads.
Drone Aviation, develops and manufactures cost-effective, compact and rapidly deployable aerial platforms, including lighter-than-air aerostats and electric-powered drones designed to provide government and commercial customers with enhanced surveillance and communication capabilities.
Utilizing a patented tether system, Drone Aviation’s products are designed to provide prolonged operational duration capabilities combined with improved reliability, uniquely fulfilling critical requirements in military, law enforcement, commercial, and industrial applications.