Keeping PTDS’ Eyes in the Sky

Army awards Lockheed Martin contract to maintain, operate and sustain persistent surveillance systems

The Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) provides the U.S. Army and coalition forces with eyes in the sky, and it’s the Lockheed Martin employees on the ground who keep the systems flying.

PTDS Since 2004, the U.S. Army has purchased more than 60 PTDS from Lockheed Martin. The Army recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $383 million contract to maintain, operate and sustain the PTDS. Photo courtesy DVIDS.

The Army uses the aerostat-based PTDS developed by Lockheed Martin for real-time, around-the-clock surveillance in broad geographic areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. Using sensors, the system collects and provides critical data to coalition forces, giving them the information needed to make decisions and take action to protect deployed personnel and high-value assets.

The Army recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $383 million contract to maintain, operate and sustain the PTDS.  Since 2004, the Army has purchased more than 60 PTDS from Lockheed Martin, including 29 last spring. With this new contract, Lockheed Martin will provide operators located oversees with a direct line of feedback to Lockheed Martin engineering and production teams for 24/7 support. 

“Lockheed Martin has a 80-year heritage of providing lighter-than-air systems to the military, that provides a much needed capability to keep our men and women safe in theater,” said Colleen Arthur, director of Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Defense Technologies market segment. “PTDS is a highly effective combat-proven system, and provides eyes-on-target and real-time situational awareness for our warfighter.”

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 PTDS have proven especially effective in identifying improvised explosive devices, tracking insurgent movements and monitoring other suspicious activity.

Filled with helium and capable of operating 24 hours a day for weeks at a time, 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.

Learn more about PTDS’ effectiveness in Afghanistan: