Lockheed awarded $77.5m

The US Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a $77.5m contract to provide additional tethered aerostat surveillance systems for deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS) are equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide continuous surveillance, detection and communications in support of coalition forces.




Lockheed Martin will assemble and test the integrated aerostats, sensors, ground stations and mooring systems at its Defense and Surveillance Systems facility in Akron. When deployed, the PTDS will be operated and maintained by Lockheed Martin Technical Operations headquartered in Colorado Springs. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, Project Manager for Night Vision, Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition, and Product Manager for Robotic & Unmanned Sensors will provide program and acquisition management.



Lockheed Martin delivered its first PTDS unit to the Army in 2004. Delivery of the new systems will commence within the next several months.



Aerostats and other lighter-than-air systems are said to provide low-cost, long-endurance communications and surveillance capabilities not possible with other types of air vehicles.


Attached by a high-strength tether to a re-locatable mooring system, aerostats may carry different types of surveillance equipment to conduct multiple missions. They are filled with helium and stay airborne around-the-clock.