The Tethered Aerostat Radar System is a U.S. low altitude airborne radar system which uses aerostats for radar platforms. These days, many countries are installing these radars on aerostat operator and using them to control air traffic within their airfields. There are many variants of this system, including the EL/M-20 83rd, a version which mounts on an aircraft or a ship. It is quite similar to the towed radar gun, with the main difference being that the latter uses a radio signal instead of radio waves.
Why being tethered Aerostats Still Being Used by the Military?
These guns are generally used on boats; however, some models can also be installed on aerostats. This is mainly done to enhance visual deterrent from unwanted surveillance by radars. Such equipment also helps in keeping the aircraft away from military zones. This in turn improves the overall security of the nation’s airfields. In fact, many airlines have already started using tethered aerostat systems to improve their visual tracking capability.
The major drawback with using these types of aerial radar system is the potential privacy that it will give off. Most likely, the operators will be flying at low altitudes where radar coverage is significantly smaller than on routes that involve very high altitudes. As such, they will not be able to detect any unidentified aircraft; however, if the flight path includes areas with strong radars, the aircraft may still be detected even when the target is below the horizon. This is one of the main reasons why most airline carriers only allow tethered aerostats on internal flights and do not permit remote operation of the same on exterior flights.