World Surveillance Group’s Low-Cost UAVs for Real-Time ISR

Security is in the air—literally. Thanks to global unrest, there is an urgent need for what the security industry calls ISR: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Demand for real-time ISR comes from government and commercial entities that require support for military and homeland defense, including detection of improvised explosive devices, border security, drug interdiction, natural disaster relief, and maritime and environmental missions.

As technologies continue to improve, one of the most interesting and dramatic new advances is in the area of small tactical aerostats. Aerostats are tethered craft that remain aloft mainly through the use of lighter-than-air gases, and which can be equipped with cameras, electronics systems and other high-tech gear.

One small company quickly becoming a big player in this space is World Surveillance Group Inc. Headquartered at the Kennedy Space Center, the company is developing a series of smaller tactical tethered aerostats it calls the Blimp in a Box™ (BiB). Capable of carrying cameras, communications packages and other sensing devices, the BiB is designed to provide mobile, real-time high-definition ISR and other forms of communications intelligence.

The BiB system is self-contained and can either be towed behind an all-terrain vehicle or operate from the bed of a pickup truck. True to its name, it is transported in a metal box, ready to deploy quickly and easily. The system is designed to allow the aerostat to remain airborne for days with a quick helium top off every 24 hours or so. The BiB can be deployed up to an altitude of 2,000 feet providing line-of-sight coverage of up to 30 miles.

Glenn Estrella, President and CEO of World Surveillance Group, believes there is a large market opportunity for lower-cost unmanned aerial vehicles like the BiB. Existing communications satellites, manned aircraft and heavier-than-air fixed-wing unmanned aircraft address some of the need for aerial surveillance, but are limited in their capabilities—and also may be too expensive or use up too many resources.

World Surveillance Group's Blimp in a Box system may represent an "outside the box" solution.

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