Tactical Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems - RD-TSARS

TSARS are systems designed and meant for tactical operations. For Aerostats, that means mobility and therefore TSARS are smaller in size than PSARS, and are designed to be light weight, mounted on a mobile trailer. TSARS can be taken to any site of interest, where an activity may be planned to take place, or might already be taking place, for continuous surveillance work and analysis.

TSARS can be deployed for observing and ensuring that peaceful means are followed during tense environments, such as soccer games, protests and other activities which have the potential to get violent. TSARS are extremely effective for observation and monitoring of games (Such as world cup events in soccer, olympics, etc) or for observation of rallies and protests, and are used by homeland security for such events. TSARS also find use in the military when enemy movement or cross border behaviour needs to be monitored and observed. TSARS act as excellent low cost high observation posts, and are designed and setup to be operational within hours of such a need arising, provided TSARS exist at the site.

TSARS, like PSARS are also LTA systems, but by definition, since TSARS are meant to be deployed for shorter periods, and are event or activity specific, the construction of TSARS is therefore different from PSARS. As an example, TSARS do not need to be built with very heavy material as they are not meant for sustained surveillance, can afford to loose more helium in a day than PSARS, and must be of lighter fabric. TSARS are also smaller in size, and the usual deployment of TSARS would be in the range of altitudes of between 800 to 2000 feet or, in some cases, even lower.

TSARS systems are broadly classified into two systems:

 Ultra Mobile TSARS (UMTSARS):

These are typically small, trailer mounted or vessel mounted aerostats, where the vehicle moves around in an area of interest, and the camera systems or small RADARs can be used to monitor the activity in the area of interest. UMTSARS are very mobile, and can be deployed rapidly, cover a large area, as the vehicle can be moving around, and so gives the height benefit to an otherwise ground based operation. Typical usage is surveillance in low mountain or hilly terrain, specially for covert/overt terrorist or criminal activity monitoring. Coast guard or marine patrols use UMTSARS for increasing their monitoring capability in marine environments, specially when cross border smuggling, including illegal migration of people and goods is likely to take place. UMTSARS are highly versatile, and can use various small payloads, usually one or two at a time to provide intelligence and situational awareness on needs basis. UMTSARS are usually small in size, with volume (Helium + Air) between 2000 to about 12000 cubic feet. They carry payloads of less than 100 kg.

UMTSARS tend to be lightweight, and have all the typical characteristics of conventional TSARS, except for the fact that they are usually designed to be extremely fire resistant, and are made of fabric meant for rough usage, as they are frequently subjected to sniper and other attacks by the enemy. Further terrain of usage could be rough, or salty (When deployed in sea), and therefore gondola is manufactured using special material that does not catch fire easily, and the mobile vehicle is usually armoured, and has on-board protection team so that the capability is not lost easily in an ambush or other attacks.

UMTSARS are completely self contained, and the vehicle on which the UMTSARS are mounted have in-built observation and display systems, and connectivity with base command for regular instructions as per changes in the security environment.

Conventional TSARS (CTSARS):

Larger than UMTSARS, conventional TSARS are essentially a hybrid between PSARS and UMTSARS. These systems are essentially designed to be fixed, but are mounted on mobile trailers, so that they can be taken to any site, and deployed on demand for surveillance and reconnaissance work. Typical deployment examples are Olympics, large events or planned protests, where daily or sustained surveillance might be required for a few days. CTSARS are generally larger than UMTSARS, and are made with material that is light, but not meant for rough usage or for sustained deployments over a period of time.

CTSARS platforms are usually containerised, and the aerostat can be rapidly brought down, rolled, and stored in a small container within the platform, and driven down to wherever the situation demands. CTSARS usually have mobile stations or commands attached to them, that travel with the CTSARS or follow them to any site, get connected, and start receiving intelligence feeds as soon as the CTSAR gets deployed at a site. CTSARS tether is both wired with Opto-electronic feeds, or can be made out of specialised artificial fibers, to provide necessary strength to the tether. Where the tether does not carry Opto-electronic cables, the Aerostat is powered by on-board battery bank, that provides necessary power to on-board cameras, and on-board wireless systems to communicate with the mobile ground control station. In case of wireless systems, the ground control station need not be physically attached to the CTSAR, but would require to be within the line-of-sight area of the CTSAR deployment.

Typically, CTSARS are relatively large sized, and would have volume of anywhere between 10000 to 60000 cubic feet, and can typically remain suspended in the air for anywhere from 1 to 5 days without the need to refill helium/hydrogen. Since CTSARS are relatively larger Aerostats, their deployment must be planned from before, and even though they can be rapidly deployed, space considerations, proper lighting in the surrounding area, and optimum ground clearance must be ensured for proper functioning of these systems.