MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) is to formally take possession of its first-ever tethered aerostat radar system (TARS) donated by the US government.
The turnover ceremony, expected to take place on Tuesday, August 22, will be led by US Embassy in Manila’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Michael Klecheski, and PN flag-officer-in-command, Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado, at the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales.
Navy spokesperson, Capt. Lued Lincuna, said explained that TARS, a self-sustained, unmanned lighter-than-air system, would enhance PN’s capability in maritime intelligence surveillance by effectively detecting maritime and air traffic within the country’s coastal waters.
It can also be used for the purpose of conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
TARS, which is optimized for detecting low, slow flying aircraft as well as maritime and surface targets, includes a weather station that provides telemetry data to the ground station for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind speed, and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system.
Typical of a functional TARS system is Lockheed Martin’s 420k tethered aerostat-based system, capable of staying aloft for weeks at a time and providing round-the-clock surveillance of broad areas. The United States Army first began using PTDS in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2004.
Such a system is also being adapted for use in providing radar surveillance on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as in counter drug operations in Florida and the Caribbean.
The 420K Aerostat System is the standard configuration selected by the U.S. Air Force for their Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS). All TARS systems are equipped and integrated with Lockheed Martin’s L88 wide area surveillance radar. The 420K is the only large aerostat system in daily use in the U.S.
The system may consist of the aerostat, tether, mobile mooring platform, mission payloads, ground control shelter, maintenance and officer shelter and power generators and site-handling equipment.