Aerial Platforms Deployed by High-Speed, High-Altitude Vehicles
Global Aerospace Corporation (GAC) has developed a concept for aerial platforms that can be used to provide communications, intelligence, surveillance, and/or reconnaissance capabilities to a battlefield or disaster area. They are balloon platforms that can be deployed by high speed vehicles and can carry a payload to a high operational altitude over a specific target area.
This concept consists of a separation system, stowed platform containment sleeve, high-speed ballute, zero-pressure balloon (open at the bottom), payload, aerial platform guidance and control set (including power), and a buoyant gas tank. This concept addresses four key technology challenges:
- A balloon and deployment system packaged within a very small volume
- Deployment initiation that is independent of the delivery vehicle
- Deceleration and deployment from high-speed vehicles
- Safe, stable, and robust balloon envelope deployment and inflation
Ground, space-based, or manned aircraft assets perform much of today’s information gathering and communications. However, these systems are expensive and require meticulous coordination for tasking. In times of disaster, these assets may not be able to remain long enough over the critical region and may even be unavailable. An effective response requires that vehicles be launched quickly and inexpensively, provide persistence over the area of concern, and carry a variety of payloads specific to their requirements. Aerial platforms can potentially meet these requirements.