RT and CopterPIX join forces to provide base protection with Sky-High DI System

Paolo Valpolini

Two Israeli companies, RT and CopterPIX joined their products to ensure protection of military camps or critical infrastructures, the blimp and the drone that form the Sky-High DI System overcoming each other weak points

Knowing what is happening around a military camp or a critical infrastructure is the first key element of a defensive system. Long endurance surveillance provided by an aerostat, linked to the round and therefore not depending on limited battery life, as power for its sensors is provided through the tether, is a classic way to ensure long range persistent surveillance. However as a blimp is static, when it detects a potential threat from distance it has a 2D view of the object, and it has blind spots unless deployed on a totally flat terrain. This is not sufficient to understand if the approaching target represents a threat or not.

To this end a drone capable to fly around the target, providing images form different angles and from different altitude is much more effective in terms of identification and threat evaluation, however its persistence over the target is limited.

To overcome the weak points of each of those systems RT, a specialist in aerostats, and CopterPIX, active in the UAS world, joined forces to provide customers with an integrated solution.

Named Sky-High and defined as a DI System, DI standing for detection and investigation,

Long-range detection is provided by a SkyStar aerostat; a tactical trailer-based solution employs the smaller SkyStar 180, a 6 metres diameter balloon that can operate up to 300 metres altitude carrying an 18 kg payload, with an endurance of 72 hours. It can withstand winds up to 40 knots, and can be deployed in 20 minutes. When a higher payload is needed, the SkyStar 330, deployed from a container, is used. It has a 7.7 metres diameter and a volume of 100 m3, can reach 500 metres altitude and carry 50 kg. The sensor suite installed is customer choice, and ensures target detection at long range.

At this point the operator presses a single button, which launches the UAS in charge of investigation. This is the CopterPIX ERE-95 Mini quad-rotor drone, also known as Desert Stinger. CopterPIX is currently the sole provider of drones under 25 kg to the Israeli MoD, and this drone is the smallest of the ER95 family, with a maximum take-off mass of 12.5 kg and a 3 kg payload that includes day and night cameras. Its maximum speed is 16 m/s with no wind, and it is capable to withstand winds up to 9 m/s (17.5 knots) and can fly up to 1,500 metres above sea level. When activated it over flies the target catching images from different angles to allow the operator to identify it, and once its task completed comes back to base where it lands on a charging landing pad, its battery being filled up to make it ready for the next mission. The ERE95 Mini endurance ranger between 80 and 100 minutes.

According to both companies, the Sky-High is readily available.

Image courtesy RT