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Debut Of A New Lightweight Aerostat System To Monitor IEDs

illustration only
by Staff Writers
Fayetteville NC (SPX) Jun 26, 2006
Carolina Unmanned Vehicles has successfully debuted their new version of the Lightweight Aerostat System (LAS) at the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) 2006 Symposium & Expo held at Fayetteville, NC from 12 to 14 June 2006.

This was the first public demonstration of CUV's new trailer mounted version of LAS. The new design features a Carrier, a 64 cubic meter (2240 cubic feet) Helikite, and a communications payload. For the counter-IED missions that were the focus of the Expo, LAS will carry a gyrostabilized camera payload and use either 21 or 35 cubic meter Helikites.

The Carrier is a military trailer equipped with helium tanks, winch and launch equipment for the Helikite and is built by Carolina Unmanned Vehicles.

It incorporates both modified military hardware and special purpose components to mount all the handling equipment in one small trailer that can be towed by a HMMWV or pick up truck. Many comparable blimp handling systems are five to ten times as large, and require multiple trucks for carriage.

Allsopp Helikites Ltd., Hampshire, Great Britain, builds the Helikite. Smaller and more versatile than comparable units, the patented Helikite supports more payload for its size than any ordinary blimp and operates in much higher winds than traditional blimp designs, improving system utility and capability in adverse weather. Its lifting surfaces support the blimp in winds which drive traditional designs into the ground by wind drag.

The camera payload by Hood Technology, Hood River, Oregon is a stabilized turret system currently being used on Boeing's ScanEagle UAV. Its gyro stabilized mounting allows detailed surveillance of people and vehicles around the LAS deployment, out to five miles or more. It is ideally suited to securing base areas in Iraq, and for homeland security missions in the US.

LAS is suitable for surveillance / security, communications relay and research missions. It operates for weeks at a time at a fraction of the cost of using aircraft or UAVs for the same mission. It requires only two technicians, not highly trained pilots or UAV operators.

Carolina Unmanned Vehicles is a small womanowned company focused on autonomous and remotely operated sensor platforms, primarily aerostats and UAVs.

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