The Skystar 180 aerostat.
(photo credit: RT LTA SYSTEMS LTD.)
The makers of a surveillance aerostat used heavily by the IDF will begin providing the platform to the Israel Police.
RT LTA Systems, based in Yavne, produces a series of aerostats (lighter-than-air craft that gain their lift through the use of a buoyant gas) that feed intelligence to the army. Now the company has been awarded a two-year contract to lease its Skystar 180 aerostat by the hour for police missions.
“The Skystar 180 system is a small, portable aerostat, especially suited for tactical intel assignments and security operations, both military and civilian,” RT LTA Systems said.
“Carrying a payload of up to 20 kilos, it provides persistent surveillance of various events, from an altitude of 300 meters. Equipped with a powerful day and night camera, this unmanned system requires only two operators, and can stay in the air continuously for 72 hours in any weather condition,” the firm added.
The IDF’s Combat Intelligence Collection Unit uses the Skystar 180 and 300 aerostats for a variety of missions that include tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The aerostats were a common sight for anyone near the Gaza Strip during the 50-day conflict with Hamas and Islamic Jihad last summer.
The IDF also heavily used them during Operation Brother’s Keeper, the search for three kidnapped teenagers in Judea and Samara in June.
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The Jerusalem Municipality recently leased three systems to monitor and control violent incidents.
According to RT LTA, the Skystar 180 model is used for intelligence operations in 10 countries spanning five continents.
One aerostat was employed last summer to secure the Fan Fest area in the soccer World Cup in Brazil.
“Under the current contract with the Israeli police, Skystar 180 systems will serve civilian law enforcement applications, such as events and concerts, soccer games, VIP security and demonstrations,” the company said.
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