New, highly stable Helikite surveillance aerostat can be towed at high speed along borders.
Many borders in Europe and elsewhere are now under extreme pressure from
terrorist insurgents, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants. Airborne surveillance
greatly helps to aid the border security agencies but it is normally too expensive or
short term to give adequate coverage over extended periods of time.
Normal, high altitude, lighter-than-air, aerostats give great surveillance over long
range, but they are static. They can only see to the horizon, therefore many are
required to secure a long border or pipeline. This is expensive and requires many
well trained personnel.
The new 'Border Patrol Helikite' from Allsopp Helikites Ltd has been specifically
designed to address this particular problem. Requiring only one or two personnel to operate it, the Helikite is a high-altitude aerostat that can be towed at high speed along borders, pipelines, or anywhere requiring persistent, mobile airborne
This Helikite combines the advantages of a low-cost, long-endurance, helium-filled
aerostat with the mobile capability of a manned aircraft or UAV. The Helikite flies
itself completely automatically and is the most weather-capable compact aerostat in the world, able to survive wind speeds up to 60 mph.
Wind that pushes normal aerostats down actually pushes Helikites upwards in a
very stable manner, thanks to the aerodynamic shape and rigid stabilising fin.
The Helikite carries a high quality, high zoom, electro-optical camera for daytime
use and a 640 x 420 line thermal camera for night. The cameras are gyro-stabilised
to provide highly stable imagery. Telemetry control signals and video images are
sent to and from the Helikite by radio or fibre optic - whichever the customer prefers.
The Helikite flies from a small trailer that carries everything required for a totally
stand-alone operation. The Helikite, cameras, helium supply, electric winch, camera
ground-station and soft launch pad are all carried on the trailer. The Helikite can be
inflated on the trailer within a few minutes. The camera is attached and the Helikite
flies automatically from the tether cable up to 2,000ft altitude.
This is plenty high enough to spot intruders from many miles away. Giving the
security forces time to intercept them before they reach the border.
If more coverage is required or an incident is happening some distance away, the
trailer, plus the Helikite flying high above it, can be towed by a vehicle up to 30 mph. Speeding along the border to maximise its surveillance capability. Alternatively, if required, the 'Border Patrol Helikite' can sit steadily in the sky in winds from nil up to gale force for months, with minimal maintenance or manpower.
Information about the 'Border Patrol Helikite' will be available at DSEI on
'Carolina Unmanned Vehicles' stand, number N5-161.