RT LTA Systems has partnered with an unnamed local partner to lease its aerostats on a pay-by-the-hour plan to defence, border security and research customers.
The leasing includes the operation of the system by the company's professional local staff. The first aerostat for lease by RT in Australia is its small tactical aerostat, the SkyStar 180. The SkyStar 180 is a mobile aerostat, designed for tactical mid-range surveillance and public safety, as well as for police and military applications.
Based on a towable trailer, the system has a stabilised day/night electro-optical payload suspended from a helium-filled aerostat, tethered to a ground system. It operates continuously at wind velocity of up to 40 knots and can lift a payload of up to 18 kilograms, providing surveillance coverage from an altitude of up to 1,000 feet for up to 72 hours, after which it is brought down for a 20-minute helium refill. Only two people are required to fully maintain the system.
In recent years, the SkyStar 180 system was in use during the Winter Olympic Games in Canada, during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, during visits of Pope Francis in various countries including Uganda, Central African Republic, Israel and Colombia, as well as during the Paris climate summit in France.
RT CEO Rami Shmueli said the SkyStar is a cost-effective option for Australian industry.
"Based on an extensive market research that we have conducted, we believe that the SkyStar 180 aerostat system is the ideal platform for our first steps towards the Australian market. We are happy to offer a 'pay-by-the-hour' plan, under which clients can now lease the systems on an hourly basis and enjoy professional operation of the systems by our local operational teams," Shmueli said.
"Using an aerostat resembles building a tower of 1,500 feet in only 20 minutes, and at a minimal cost per day. No other defense systems, manned or unmanned, are as cost-effective as aerostats."
The SkyStar systems have already accumulated more than 1.5 million operational hours worldwide.