Drone Aviation Delivers WASP Tactical Aerostats to US DoD (Videos)

The WASP has participated in a series of the Army’s Network Integration Experiment (NIE) and has been recognized as a solution that can support the warfighter.
The WASP has participated in a series of the Army’s Network Integration Experiment (NIE) and has been recognized as a solution that can support the warfighter.

Drone Aviation, a manufacturer of tethered drones and lighter-than-air aerostats, and Finalist in the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program, has delivered its multi-mission capable tactical Winch Aerostat Small Platform (WASP) to the Department of Defense (DoD) under a contract award valued in excess of $1.7 million.

This award is the third repeat order for the WASP by this customer and is the result of a growing number of successful international deployments with military personnel.

The Winch Aerostat Small Platform, or WASP, is a mobile, tactical-sized aerostat that extends stand-off range for detection and communication, and is capable of carrying a variety of payloads in support of military operations.

The self-contained launcher/trailer allows lightly-trained crews of 2-3 soldiers to operate from austere locations and can be flown for long duration (days and weeks at a time only requiring helium top offs).

(See Drone Aviations Winch Aerostat Small Platform (WASP) in Action! Courtesy of Drone Aviation and YouTube. Posted on Feb 19, 2018.)

The WASP has participated in a series of the Army’s Network Integration Experiment (NIE) and has been recognized as a solution that can support the warfighter.

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, secure multi-frequency and multi-wave form wireless communication range extension capability at the edge of the battlefield from either a fixed, stationary position or while being towed.

Winch Aerostat Small Platform, or WASP
Winch Aerostat Small Platform, or WASP

Over the past four years, U.S. Army-owned WASP systems have successfully completed thousands of hours of soldier training operations, various Department of Defense (DoD) exercises, and customer operations.

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.

(See More. Courtesy of Drone Aviation and YouTube. Posted on August 16, 2017.)

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.

The contract, for a customized WASP Elevated Relay System (ERS), features simultaneous multi-mission capabilities for extended range communications up to 40km utilizing multi-frequency and multi-wave form radios operating in parallel with high performance ISR payloads designed for day/night Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

Dan Erdberg, President of Drone Aviation
Dan Erdberg, President of Drone Aviation

“This delivery further demonstrates our ability to rapidly translate challenging customer requirements from the whiteboard to the field in a reliable and repeatable solution,” explained Dan Erdberg, President of Drone Aviation.

“The WASP ERS successfully integrates industry-leading communications radios that can seamlessly connect to existing secure military networks deployed globally.”

Jay Nussbaum, Chairman and CEO of Drone Aviation Corp.
Jay Nussbaum, Chairman and CEO of Drone Aviation Corp.

“This expands our potential market to include solutions that enable rapid, cost effective extension of existing communications infrastructure worldwide.”

“This latest contract is a major financial and business milestone for Drone Aviation, marking our largest single contract and advancing our efforts to grow our operations and convert high-value opportunities for the WASP into revenue,” added Jay Nussbaum, Chairman and CEO of Drone Aviation Corp.

“Furthermore, through a focused strategy of technical leadership and customer-driven product development, we are transforming our investments into unique solutions such as this WASP communications system.”

“We remain committed to developing solutions with unique capabilities and unmatched operational economics, critical attributes which align directly with current military and homeland security priorities in 2019.”

WASP Operational Description

WASP leverages well-understood aerostat technology to elevate network payloads to an advantaged height to enable persistent network connectivity while reducing risk to units conducting retransmission operations. Common applications include extending network communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
WASP leverages well-understood aerostat technology to elevate network payloads to an advantaged height to enable persistent network connectivity while reducing risk to units conducting retransmission operations.
  • Mobile, rapidly reconfigurable aerostat
  • HMMWV OR truck deployed
  • Setup to operating in 30 minutes
  • Days-duration flight time
  • 10X the height of existing tower capability
  • Supports a variety of payloads to include communications, ISR and SIGINT
  • Operationally flexible – deploy and launch from fixed or remote site
  • Low total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Modular launcher can be dropped on ground, rooftop, or military depot trailer (M1101/02)
  • Launcher can be tendered to commercial freight (not roll-on, roll-off cargo via Dover AFB MAC)

Benefits to the Warfighter


  • Enables assured communications to the tactical edge
  • Links Aviation (Roamer Net) and Ground Maneuver (SINCGARS to SRW)
  • Enables operational dispersion and increased OPTEMPO
  • Reduces need to jump towers forward (force protection)
  • Supports scouts / special units that “outrun” or operate beyond the existing network
  • Enhances Mission Command on the Move


  • Envelope Diameter: 15-22 feet

  • Payload Lift Capacity: 20 to 130lbs.
  • Flight Altitude: Up to 1500 ft AGL
  • Launch Altitude: Up to 6000 ft MSL
  • 8 km human detection, 40 mile communication range
  • Lifting Gas: Helium (non-flammable, supplied from tanker or carried on launcher)
  • Operational Cycle: Persistent
  • Includes Rapid Deflation Device (RDD)

(The Pentagon announced in March that it had ordered camera-toting, helium-filled balloon-style drones known as the Winch Aerostat Small Platform, or WASP. Courtesy of United News International and YouTube. Posted on Mar 28, 2018.)

WASP is currently being utilized by the DoD as a mobile, tactical aerial solution that can support multi-mission profiles involving ground and aerial-based assets through communication retransmission.

Operating at altitudes of up to 1,500 feet AGL, the WASP system can significantly extend ISR capabilities and secure 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 Corporation Competes in 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program

AST focuses on Homeland Security and Public Safety Breaking News, the Newest Initiatives and Hottest Technologies in Physical & IT Security, essential to meeting today’s growing security challenges.

2017 ASTORSThe 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program, is organized to recognize the most distinguished vendors of Physical, IT, Port Security, Law Enforcement, Border Security, First Responders, (Fire, EMT, Military, Support Services Vets, SBA, Medical Tech) as well as the Federal, State, County and Municipal Government Agencies – to acknowledge their outstanding efforts to ‘Keep our Nation Secure, One City at a Time.

As an ‘ASTORS’ competitor, Drone Aviation’s WASP will be competing against the industry’s leading providers of Innovative Persistent Aerial Monitoring Solution.

To Learn More about the ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program, see 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners Honored at ISC East.

The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Presentation Luncheon
The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Presentation Luncheon

Over 100 distinguished guests from National, State and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Executives from companies allied to Government, gathered from across North America and the Middle East to be honored from disciplines across the Security Industry in their respective fields which included representatives from:

  • 2018 ASTORSThe Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • The Department of Justice
  • The Security Exchange Commission
  • State and Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Leaders in Private Security

Good Luck to Drone Aviation on becoming a Winner in the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program.

Join us in Recognizing these Industry-Leading Firms for their Outstanding Product Development  Achievements, Exciting New Technologies and Innovative Education Programs to address the growing Homeland Security Threats our Nation is facing.

Take advantage of this exclusive luncheon opportunity to Invite your Guests, Clients and Show Visitors to a lovely & affordable plated meal event in the heart of New York City, for a Fabulous Networking Opportunity!

Exclusive luncheon and networking opportunity at ISC East 2018.
Take a break from the Show and Join Us for this Exclusive Luncheon and Networking Opportunity at ISC East 2018.

ISC East is the Northeast’s largest security industry event and your ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon registration includes complimentary attendee access to the show.

Already Exhibiting and/or Attending the 2018 ISC East Conference?

Join us to meet the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winning Company Executives & Government Agency Representatives.

Register today for the ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Luncheon on November 14th, in New York City and give yourself & your clients a break from the show!

Gourmet luncheon choices available per person, or reserve a table – make an Impression on your Guests and Receive an Exclusive Discount Opportunity.

To Learn More about the AST 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program and Luncheon, please contact Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at: mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com or call 732.233.8119 (mobile) or 646-450-6027.