The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a contract to tethered drones and light aerostats manufacturer Drone Aviation for the delivery of its multi-mission capable tactical Winch Aerostat Small Platform (WASP).
Under the deal, the company will be responsible for providing high-performance payloads specifically designed to carry out day or night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It will also secure multi-frequency and multi-waveform communications and operator training.
Capable of being operated by two soldiers, the WASP system is a highly tactical and mobile aerostat that can offer a day and night video secure multi-frequency and multi-waveform wireless communication range extension capability that can be operated stationary or towed at the edge of the battlefield.
Drone Aviation president Dan Erdberg said: “Today’s $1.7m contract award, the largest received by the company to date, reconfirms the growing interest in the WASP based upon actual deployment experience and our ability to cost-effectively deliver ISR and secure comms at the at the edge of the battlefield.
“Most importantly, in contrast to the significant expense and logistical challenges associated with the larger, mostly fixed infrastructure aerostat systems deployed today, WASP is rapidly deployable and mobile, providing nearly unmatched mission flexibility.”
Over the last four years, the WASP systems operated by the US Army have successfully completed several hours of soldier training operations, a wide range of DoD exercises and customer-related operations.
Currently, the aerostat is being used by the US DoD as a mobile, tactical aerial system that can support multi-mission profiles involving ground and aerial-based assets through communication retransmission.
The system is capable of operating at altitudes of up to 1,500ft above ground level to effectively support its ISR capabilities and secure communications in remote locations.
The WASP tactical aerostat is expected to be delivered by the company before the end of the third quarter of this year.