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Poland names aerostat programme, confirms number of units

Poland has assigned the name ‘Barbara' to the Aerostat reconnaissance programme, which seeks to enable persistent air and ground surveillance. The US currently deploys Tethered Aerostat Radar Systems (pictured) to support airborne border surveillance along the US Mexico-border and select Caribbean areas. (US Department of Defense)

Poland's Armament Agency announced on 6 May that its aerostat reconnaissance programme will be called Barbara, with four systems expected to be acquired to bolster surveillance.

In February the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced Poland's intention to procure Airspace and Surface Radar Reconnaissance (ASRR) aerostat systems for an estimated USD1.2 billion.

The primary contractors fulfilling this requirement are Raytheon Intelligence & Space, ELTA North America, and Avantus Federal LLC.

The procurement comprises ASRR aerostat systems as well as airborne early warning (AEW) radars with identification friend-or-foe (IFF) capabilities, electronic sensor systems, mooring systems with powered tether and embedded fibre optics, and ground control systems (GCS), as well as associated hardware, training, technical, and logistical support, the DSCA detailed.

Equipped with radar and electronic intelligence payloads, the aerostats will be used to support persistent day/night detection, tracking, and monitoring of a diverse range of air and ground threats, including the low radar cross-section unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and low-flying inbound aircraft.

The radar must be able to report tracks of manoeuvring air-breathing targets between 100 ft and 15,000 ft above ground level, travelling at speeds of 110–1,482 km/h. The field-of-view for each platform must be 360° and options for additional future systems are possible, once the core constellation begins operating, a request for information published in June 2022 noted.

For more information on Poland ' s procurement of the ASRR, please see US approves USD1.2 billion aerostat sale to Poland .

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