To protect a forward operating base in Niger, the German Bundeswehr has ordered a high-altitude Rheinmetall tethered balloon-based area reconnaissance system.
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Group subsidiary Rheinmetall Canada will be in charge of integrating the surveillance balloon’s sensors into the existing military C4I architecture.
Capable of remaining aloft above the installation to be protected for extensive periods, the balloon’s highly sensitive sensors enable them to spot hostile elements even at great distances.
These tethered surveillance balloons are designed to give the Bundeswehr a new means of protecting its forces deployed in Niger.
The Bundeswehr will be able to deploy this solution day and night to identify potentially hostile elements several kilometres away, making it possible to initiate necessary countermeasures on a timely basis.
Previous performance has shown that systems of this type are able to reduce the likelihood of an attack by hostile forces by 50 per cent.
Rheinmetall has undertaken to run the system in Niger around the clock, seven days a week under the operator solution awarded by the Bundeswehr. Soldiers in special workstations on the ground will operate the system’s sensors.
The system, also known as an 'aerostat', is already familiar to numerous soldiers and observers from previous deployments: the US armed forces have been using such area surveillance solutions for years to protect their forward operating bases.
For Rheinmetall, the order represents sales of over €21 million net, and Rheinmetall will train these troops to perform their future tasks prior to deployment under the contract.