Yesterday, the Israeli Air Force (IAF, Zroa HaAvir VeHahalal) officially received the “Tal Shamaim” (Dew of the Sky) platform developed in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Defense (MOD, Misrad HaBitahon) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS) is designed to hover at high altitudes and detect incoming long-range missiles, cruise missiles and drones from its neighbours. The elevated sensor is comprised of a high availability aerostat system & an advanced radar, and is designed to detect a wide range of threats. At high altitudes, it will provide detection & early warning capabilities for the Israeli Air Force and the entire State of Israel.
It said the reconnaissance balloon was made by the US company TCOM and was recently inflated at a site it has established in northern Israel. TCOM developed the TCOM 117 m but not fitted with a payload. The largest aerostat TCOM advertises is 74 m, which can carry 3,175 kg and has an operational altitude of 10,000 ft. With over 1,000,000 hours of operation these systems are the only operational airborne defense assets to routinely provide the continuous round-the-clock, low altitude target detection information needed to secure the skies. The radar has been developed with the US Missile Defense Agency, and Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI’s) Elta subsidiary is the prime contractor.
The huge reconnaissance balloon itself was produced by the American TCOM company, a specialist in this field that also produced the aerostat for The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS, Spy Balloon) but failed to provide an operational capability before being canceled amid delays and cost overruns. The Saudi award comes on the heels of TCOM’s historic win of a five-year, $978.9 Million Prime Contract of the U.S. Army PSS-T Program, designed to support multisensory data collection, 360-degree monitoring, weather detection, communications, and force protection tasks during interagency, multinational and joint operations.
TCOM, LP is a global leader of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) solutions of Lighter-than-Air Persistent Surveillance Tethered Aerostat platforms for Air, Maritime, and Land. For over 40 years, the company’s pioneering innovations have defined the persistent surveillance and Lighter-than-Air industries. By blending leading-edge technology, manufacturing, and field operation capabilities, TCOM has provided ISR systems for United States, and foreign governments with complete persistent surveillance capabilities. TCOM systems are in use around the globe including theaters of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.