Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Persistent Threat Detection System, PTDS and Tethered Aerostat Radar System
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: TARS
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1978
Total Production: 8,000
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Description: The Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) is a helium balloon borne radar system. Its primary mission is to provide radar data information to US agencies in support of drug interdiction missions. On the other hand, TARS can perform a wide range of long endurance (only limited by the weather) surveillance missions. The TARS has been deployed by the US Air Force for persistent drug interdiction missions since 1984. It can detect targets at 200 miles (around 320 km). In 2004 two aerostat systems were deployed in Iraq to perform surveillance missions against terrorists and insurgents attacks.
The TARS consists of three sizes of aerostats raging from 56,000 to 625,000 cubic feet which can accommodate three varieties of radar systems (L-88 radar). The whole system comprises the aerostat, mooring system, airborne power generation system, and radar assembly.
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