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US marines looking for alternative operators for Kuwait's aerostat radar

The Kuwait Low Altitude Surveillance System is seen during a visit by Minister of Defence Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah in January 2021. (Kuwait News Agency)

US Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) is carrying out market research to see if there are contractors other than TCOM that can operate the Kuwait Low Altitude Surveillance System (KLASS).

In a request for information released on 13 June MARCORSYSCOM said the KLASS consists of a TCOM 71M tethered aerostat that carries a TPS-63 solid-state radar, as well as associated ground equipment and systems.

The KLASS is currently operated by US aerostat manufacturer TCOM on behalf of the Kuwait Air Force under a non-competitive contract awarded in 2015.

Companies that are interested in taking over the contract will have to show they are capable of operating the KLASS 24 hours a day for 365 days a year, which requires personnel qualified to fly the 71M and with experience of doing so in Southwest Asian weather conditions. It will also need personnel capable of operating and maintaining the TPS-63 radar, other onboard electronic systems, and all the ground equipment, which includes a weather radar and a wind profiler.

MARCORSYSCOM said the KLASS “has been a critical operational asset for the state of Kuwait since the 1980s and continues to provide critical real-time, low-altitude air surveillance as well as surveillance of surface targets to both the Kuwait Air Force as well as US Central Command”.

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