An Investigation of the Applicability of High Altitude, Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) Vehicles to the Tactical Communications Relay Problem
AIR FORCE CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH LABS HANSCOM AFB MA
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The various types of large balloon systems in use today, or under development, are examined with regard to potential use in the SEEK STAR multi- mode transmission system. Tethered balloons are shown to satisfy many communications applications, but to lack the altitude capability needed by SEEK STAR. The powered free balloon is seen to offer the best potential. The AFCRL powered balloon system, POBAL, is described and test results are presented. Its successor system, POBAL-S, is also described and evaluated. The demise of the POBAL-S development at AFCRL and the reappearance of the concept under the Navys HASPA program is discussed and the applicability of HASPA to the SEEK STAR mission is evaluated. It is shown that, although the HASPA can theoretically satisfy or exceed all SEEK STAR needs, a delay of about three years must be endured before definitive results are available. Free-flying that is, unpowered balloon systems, both zero-pressure and superpressure, are evaluated and the advantages of the ground-launched and air-launched systems are pointed out. A status report on the Air-Launched Balloon System ALBS development is given.
- Lighter-than-air Aircraft
- Radio Communications