It is unclear why there are some people who still consider these aerostat systems to be useful for providing low-volume ground communications when they clearly cannot compete with the much more effective technologies available today. Terrain avoidance as well as avoidance of colliding with other airplanes using the latest generation of low-volume aircraft airfield communications systems is obviously much more important than being able to communicate with an aerial unit. It is therefore not surprising that these people still maintain that tethered aerostat systems are useful and necessary for military operations. However, other technologies clearly surpass these in both range of operation and in effectiveness for military purposes.
Use of Tethered Aerostats For Visual Deterrence
This system was never designed to be a full-fledged communications system, but rather a low-volume radar system. Its primary purpose was to provide aerial navigation for military operations in areas where radio transmissions were ineffective or too weak. Radio transmissions are also often sensitive to terrain. In areas where radio transmission lines run through the mountainous terrain, geomembrane barriers can effectively block them, rendering the tethered aerostats ineffective and therefore less effective for military operations.
The Tethered Aerostat Radar System, otherwise known as the Aerostat EO-SRM, is an American low level airborne midair radar system which uses aerostats as active radar platforms. Like many other similar systems available on the market, it also uses passive infrared technology (PIR) for both tracking and identification. Unlike other passive radar systems, however, this system has been out of production for many years, and its effectiveness has been called into question. Moreover, its maximum range has also been called into question, especially in comparison to other passive radar systems.