Aerostats have many advantages, not least their load carrying capacity and long loitering times.  However, there are a number of considerations that should be made when choosing whether aerostats are suitable for your mission requirements. The following outlines the support and guidance that Airborne are able to offer to identify and clarify your requirements through its consultancy service :

Understanding the nature of the threat you face is one of the core decisions which will determine if aerostats are the right choice for you.  The type of threat you face, the sphere in which it operates and therefore the purpose of the mission, are all key areas on which to base your decisions. These are areas in which our experience can help.

There are some limitations in which aerostats are most effective, and some in which they face particular challenges in safe and effective operation. Locating the site of the aerostat is important, taking into account the geography and climatic features of the area.  Establishing the optimum site requires informed thought and planning, with ground conditions and access being important factors.

Having selected the best strategic site, preparing it for safe and effective aerostat operations requires a detailed understanding of the operational requirements and limitations of the system. Airborne are able to support and manage this process.

Depending on the nature and purpose of the mission, and the operational environment in which it takes place, there will be a need to effectively secure the site.  This can be simple physical protection in the urban environment, or may require the client to secure a broader sphere of long range defence around the base.  Airborne can assist in evaluating and selecting the most effective solutions.

Aerostat sites will be manned 24hrs, and as well as the support of the crews, the aerostat itself, along with its technical payloads and management systems will need both supplies and replenishment. Establishing the optimum level of support to maintain the continual coverage required will ensure the highest levels of operability.

The range of available payload systems is growing continually, and selecting the most suitable option for the mission is crucial to its success. Large aerostats can carry and mixture of optical and radar sensors, as well as electronic surveillance and communications packages. There is also a wide range of communications options depending on the range and level of security required.  Airborne are able to guide and work with the client to establish the most effective solution, bearing in mind the various export restrictions that exist for such technologies.

There are several designs of aerostat available, and each supplier will demonstrate the advantages of their own system over another. Understanding the relative benefits, limitations and performance of these various options can save wasted time and effort in the selection process. Airborne are able to provide a detailed performance requirement for potential suppliers to bid against, ensuring that the key needs of the mission are met, and that bids are made on an equal footing. Aerostat designs must accommodate the various geographic, climatic and payload requirements of the mission, not just at the point of purchase, but to ensure that they continue to provide the needs of that mission over their operational lives.

Supporting aerostat systems requires both crews and support infrastructure to be trained and put in place. Deploying several systems at diverse sites will require a logistical support framework to be planned and implemented, ensuring maximum deployment through the mission. Airborne can support the planning, equipping and training required to create an efficient, reactive network to support multiple systems.

Aerostat systems require trained crews for their safe, 24hr operation, and if the client is planning to deploy several systems, that will often require the establishment of a training centre. In addition to the normal crew members, each system will come under the control of a ‘Flight Director’ who requires training to a much higher standard. With decades of experience in the deployment and operation of aerostats, Airborne can guide the client through the requirements of developing an effective recruitment and training program to create skilled and coordinated teams.