PTDS Keeps Watch Around the Clock

U.S. Army Awards Lockheed Martin contract to provide 29 more Persistent Threat Detection Systems in Afghanistan


file The U.S. Army recently awarded Lockheed Martin a firm-fixed price undefinitized contract agreement for 29 additional PTDS systems.

There are no battle lines in Operation Enduring Freedom. In Afghanistan, the enemy can be anywhere, blending in with the civilian population and forcing Coalition forces to keep their heads on a swivel looking for the next potential threat.

To help protect troops in the field, the Pentagon has placed an increased emphasis on providing more and better intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).   Persistent surveillance systems such as Lockheed Martin’s aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) have proven especially effective in identifying improvised explosive devices (IEDs), tracking insurgent movements and monitoring other suspicious activity.

The Department of Defense recently announced that Coalition forces will be receiving even more ISR assistance. The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a firm-fixed price undefinitized contract agreement in late May valued at $184.3 million for 29 additional PTDS systems, along with support equipment and spare parts. 

Filled with helium, PTDS provides low-cost, continuous communications and persistent surveillance capabilities not possible with other types of manned and unmanned aircraft.  Attached by a high-strength tether to a re-locatable mooring system, PTDS carries different types of surveillance equipment to conduct multiple missions.

"Persistent surveillance is around the clock – 24/7 – monitoring for an extended period of time, monitoring that is in stark contrast to that provided by aircraft, which have surveillance-time limitations dictated by fuel consumption/capacity," said Maj. Robert Rugg, assistant product manager persistent surveillance devices for the U.S. Army Program Manager Robotic and Unmanned Systems office in an April 1 Military and Aerospace Electronics article. He then added, “PTDS has the unique sustained operations capability that exceeds 20 continuous days."

To read more about PTDS’ effectives in Afghanistan, click on the following links: