Aerostat is a large fabric envelop filled with hot air or helium. They can rise up to a height of 4,600m. Aerostat systems are low level airborne ground surveillance system. These are ideal platform to elevate various light payloads for a prolonged duration of time. Aerostat systems are designed and manufactured based on the specific required parameter such as: altitude, operating temperature, payload carrying capacity and wind speed.
An aerostat system consists of four main parts: the hull, power generator, the radar and windscreen platform and the tether and rigging assembly. The hull of the aerostat consist of two chambers separated by a fabric partition. The top chamber is filled with helium providing lifting capacity, while the bottom chamber is a compartment filled with pressurized air maintaining hull shape at all altitudes. The airborne power generator consists of an airborne engine control unit that drives the generator. Finally, a tether is a specialized cable that anchors and connects the aerostat to a ground anchor unit. Tethers can be roughly divided into two main types: dead tether and live tether.
Aerostats are lighter-than-air (LTA) aircraft and are mobile, cost effective and are deployed as tactical airborne platform for highly technical sensors such as surveillance cameras, radar systems, communication equipment and other scientific equipment. Aerostat systems are used for Aerial surveillance, Intelligence Gathering, Scientific Research, Border/Port Security, Aerial advertising, Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) Communication Relays, Critical Asset protection and other applications.
Aerostat Systems Market: Market Dynamics
Aerostat systems market has huge potential growth due to its various application such as surveillance, information gathering and scientific research. Moreover, Aerostat systems features such as high structural integrity, low operational cost, low maintenance cost, durable and ecofriendly are expected to promote its market. Features such as high structural integrity, low operational cost, low maintenance cost, durable and ecofriendly are some of the key factors expected to augment aerostat systems market globally. Aerostat system possesses a several advantages over other aerial surveillance systems such as drones and aircrafts. Furthermore increasing focus by defense sector in the field of airborne surveillance and border security are expected to boost the Aerostat systems market.
Although the aerostat systems provide low cost surveillance and great load bearing capacity, they are significantly affected by wind and weather conditions. Since aerostat systems are needed to remain airborne for a prolong period of time hence design and manufacturing are critical which lead to higher initial setup cost. These factors are restraining the aerostat systems market. There has been an increasing focus by market players towards developing sophisticated Technologies and design and manufacturing of robust aerostat systems which can sustain in adverse condition and provide satisfactory performance. Moreover, companies are working on developing solar powered aerostat systems.
Over past few year several new project have been launched one such example is Project loon launched by Google Co. Project loon is a balloon powered internet designed to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide. Innovation and new product development are expected to fuel the aerostat systems market growth.
Aerostat Systems Market Segmentation By Product Type – Balloon, Airship, Hybrid; By Application Type – Surveillance, Intelligence Gathering, Research, Force Protection, Critical Infrastructure Security, Border/Port Security, Communication Relays, Incident Awareness & Assessment, Others (Situational Awareness, Rapid Acquisition, Disaster Response); By Size – Compact-sized, Mid-sized, Large sized; By Propulsion System – Powered, Unpowered; By End Use – Defense, Commercial
The North America is expected to lead the market for aerostat systems, due to its acceptance and already prevailing usage in defense and homeland security. With the increase in terrorist activity and criminals it is expected to augment the aerostat systems, which will accelerate the growth of aerostat systems market. The increasing emphasis by governments in Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions in strengthening their surveillance capabilities and border security owing rise in terrorism is expected to significantly affect aerostat systems market growth in positive way.
Examples of some of the market participants operating in the global Aerostat Systems market are as follows: RAVEN INDUSTRIES, INC., ILC Dover, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Aeros, Aero Drum Ltd, Raytheon Company, TCOM, L.P, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, Lindstrand Technologies Limited, Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited, Icarus Training Systems, Cameron Balloons, AUGUR – RosAeroSystems, RT Aerostats Systems