Carolina Unmanned Vehicles (CUV) (Stand N5-161), a woman-owned company focusing on small aerostats and UAVs, is showcasing a new version of its Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System (STMPAS).
STMPAS-II follows on from STMPAS-I, which was developed for the US Army Rapid Equipping Force, for ISR deployment to small tactical units in Afghanistan.
The STMPAS blimp can fly at altitudes of 500-10,000ft for low-cost, long-term coverage for 24 hours a day for a week or more without requiring maintenance or downtime.
STMPAS-II, which was developed with internal funding, can carry ISR and communications payloads attached under a small, specially designed tethered blimp, called a Helikite, and a trailer carrier that stores the Helikite and the required winch, sensors and helium tanks.
STMPAS-II retains the small crew size, high mobility, air transportability and logistics supportability of its predecessor. It is claimed to operate for weeks at a time at a fraction of the cost of comparable aircraft or unmanned air vehicles.
With superior mobility, mission utility and adverse weather capability, including operation in high winds, all STMPAS equipment can fit into a single military trailer.
Enhancements include launch directly from a box on the trailer top rather than from the ground, which improves the launch timeline, reduces problems with muddy or uneven ground, and allows movement of the system with the Helikite inflated atop the trailer. The Helirest air-inflated unit has been moved to the trailer top where it restrains and protects the Helikite during inflation and deflation and ground storage.
STMPAS is designed to support mobile or expeditionary operations, but may be employed in static missions, such as a force protection measure at a small forward operating base that cannot logistically support a larger aerostat system. It is aimed at mobile border security and post-disaster communications support, and is suitable for surveillance and communications relay.
The US Department of Commerce has approved the basic STMPAS equipment for export.