Troll Systems has awarded a contract to Drone Aviation for the delivery of a set of customised Winch Aerostat Small Platform (WASP) systems.

Under the contract, the companies will form a working group to integrate the L-3 Wescam MX-10 advanced optical sensor system into the WASP platform for an undisclosed international customer.

Drone Aviation CEO Felicia Hess said: "Drone Aviation is pleased to partner with Troll Systems to expand the capabilities of our WASP platform and to help them meet the stringent requirements of their overseas customers.

"With the addition of the L-3 Wescam MX-10 optical package, we are greatly expanding the operational capabilities of the WASP tethered aerostat system, further demonstrating the platform’s ability to flexibly deliver simple, secure and cost effective tactical surveillance and communications to customers."

The WASP is a self-contained tactical aerostat system, which provides a secure package to enhance communications coverage, reduce the retransmissions forward positioning requirement, and facilitate operational dispersion.

"Drone Aviation is pleased to partner with Troll Systems to expand the capabilities of our WASP platform."

According to the company, the mobile, tactical-sized aerostat can carry a variety of payloads in support of military operations, and primarily provides improvements in complex terrain where current systems are restricted.

Designed to be operated from fixed sites and remote locations, the tethered system is controlled through a launcher operated by soldiers, and remains aloft primarily through the use of buoyant lighter than air gases.

The systems have already been purchased by the US Department of Defense (DoD), and are currently participating in sponsored exercises, after successfully completing operations in a series of the US Army network integration exercises.

In addition, the systems also form part of future capability studies as part of the DoD’s evaluation of the WASP as a highly mobile, tactical aerostat for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and communications.

Troll and Drone Aviation intend to start integration this month, followed by initial flight trials during third quarter of this year.

Image: US soldiers help prepare the Winch Aerostat Small Platform for launch. Photo: courtesy of US Army.