Blimps in Iraq anchored near outposts for eye-in-the-sky surveillance, now transferred to Iraqis

A Raytheon Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment tower, which is part of the Base Expeditionary Targeting System of Systems-Combined, is raised on a base.

A Raytheon Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment tower, which is part of the Base Expeditionary Targeting System of Systems-Combined, is raised on a base.

aerostat 17M - TCOM

aerostat 17M – TCOM

“Additional surveillance equipment used successfully overseas, such as aerostats” could at large reaches of the Mexican border. Three companies have blimps in the border trials: Lockheed, the largest U.S. contractor, No. 4 Raytheon Co. and closely held Technology & Supply Management LLC.
Lockheed’s is the biggest — 117 feet (36 meters) long and able to hover at 5,000 feet. As many as 65 Lockheed blimps flew in Afghanistan and Iraq, anchored near U.S. outposts for eye-in-the-sky surveillance. Soldiers brought back stories of Afghan mothers letting children play in sight of the “big balloon” because it meant they would be safe. Being with the troops in forward operating bases was a very good fit, and now looking at large reaches of the border is a very good fit.”
Lockheed’s aerostat can stay up for 30 days, lifted by inert helium. It’s anchored by special fiber-optic and copper cables that send power and receive data from L-3 Communications Holding Inc.’s Wescam MX-20 electro-optical and infrared cameras. Layered composite-fiber material gives the balloons strength and filters out damaging ultraviolet radiation.
Raytheon’s system “is proven technology with a distinguished service record,” according to a fact sheet from the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company, which declined requests for an interview. Fairfax, Virginia-based Technology & Supply Management also declined to comment.

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About huecri

Publishing on the Web is a fairly iterative process. ...NYT ...Not too long ago, reporters were the guardians of scarce facts delivered at an appointed time to a passive audience. Today we are the managers of an overabundance of information and content, discovered, verified and delivered in partnership with active communities. summer 2012 issue of Nieman Reports from Harvard, --- THE FIX by Chris Cillizza, WAPO blogger, quoting Matt Drudge: “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices,” he said in the speech. “Every citizen can be a reporter.” Later, he added: “The Net gives as much voice to a 13 year old computer geek like me as to a CEO or Speaker of the House. "
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