Sierra Nevada Corporation Successfully Completes Global Stratospheric ISR Flight for UK’s Project Aether
Sierra Nevada Corporation Successfully Completes Global Stratospheric ISR Flight for UK’s Project Aether

SNC Successfully Completes Global Stratospheric ISR Flight for UK’s Project Aether

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) successfully demonstrated performance of its rapidly deployable High-Altitude Balloon (HAB), completing launch, mission performance and recovery of the uncrewed platform for stratospheric communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The flight was a critical part of the company’s U.K. Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Project Aether Flight 1 Assessment Phase contract. SNC’s rapidly HAB provides global, persistent and uninterrupted ISR with communication capabilities at higher altitudes in near real-time. Project Aether will address the MOD’s need for rapidly maneuverable, ultra-persistent wide area communications and ISR for long-duration missions with minimal resupply or maintenance efforts.

“Our team is very excited to be working with the UK MOD on this project. SNC has considerable experience with these ‘lighter than air’ high-altitude platforms and collection systems. We are confident that our HAB both meets and exceeds the mission requirements of our MOD customer, as well as other SNC partners around the world,” said Bill Leonard, senior director of programs for SNC’s MST business area.
“We are very pleased with the successful results of this demonstration. SNC has extensive experience working with researchers and industry on high-altitude C5ISR technologies and this demonstration simply reinforces our commitment to delivering superior development, integration and deployment services to customers around the globe,” said Tim Owings, executive vice president of SNC’s Mission Solutions & Technologies (MST) business area.


SNC’s Flight 1 demonstration launched from Page, Ariz., performing key station-keeping missions before transitioning northeast across several states to more urban environments. The HAB’s solar arrays and batteries provide the power needed to integrate larger payloads, expanding mission opportunities and enhancing available mission capabilities. It is also capable of around-the-clock operations, exploiting the natural speed and directional diversity of stratospheric winds. SNC successfully performed all stratospheric beyond-line-of-sight operations and recovered the payload for the duration and altitudes set by the Aether programme office. Partnered with SNC subsidiary, Sierra Nevada Corporation Mission Systems UK (SNC MS UK), World View Enterprises, Inc. and Digital Receiver Technology, Inc., the SNC-led team leverages a commercially mature platform and tools proven at the highest technology readiness level (TRL-9). The next phase of demonstrations will include a 60-day test flight.

SNC’s system is capable of targeting geolocations anywhere in the world and offers immediately available and exploitable data using a range of existing resources. SNC is a trusted leader in innovative, advanced technology solutions and open architecture integrations in aerospace and national security. Best known for its unique mission applications, SNC creates customized solutions for the world’s most pressing technology challenges in the fields of aviation, national security space, electronic warfare, command and control, mission systems and inline cybersecurity. SNC is owned by Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, and is once again recognized as a US Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private.

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