Indian security agencies, National Security Guard and the Border Security Force as well as the Karnataka police, have considered buying balloon-based aerial surveillance systems from Israel’s RT.
The Israeli company’s partner Mistral Solutions, which is based at Bangalore in India stated today that the aerostat system is extensively used by the Israel Defence Forces. Recently even the US army has purchased it, including a helium balloon that is tethered to a mobile ground platform.
The system also provides surveillance images from its airborne perch. “Mistral’s forte in homeland security solutions has encouraged us to venture into the Indian market and we have so far received some positive signals from the various security and surveillance departments in India,” Rami Shmueli, chief executive at RT was reported as saying by the Hindu today.
The helium-inflatable device is equipped with imaging equipment having long-range day and night-time thermal capabilities.
The system’s camera provides aerial surveillance from a height of up to 1500 feet and can zoom in to monitor suspicious movements. The system can also provide video surveillance over a 5 km. radius. The balloon can remain airborne for up to 72 hours continuously.
RT’s aerostat systems have been operational for a decade in various military and civilian missions and have logged more than 700,000 operation hours. “I am certain that India will greatly benefit from the use of these systems,” Mr. Shmueli said.
The product is also useful in emergency situations like earthquakes and floods. The other applications include surveillance of sports events, public rallies, border and coastal areas.
“We can set up a communication system within minutes during any disaster,” said Mistral's chairman Anees Ahmed said.
The product would be available in India under the brand name Mistral-RT1000. “Karnataka Police is one of the first to look into this. Bengaluru being the technology capital of the country, we may soon see this being deployed here before any other city,” said Mr. Ahmed.
RT’s system is designed for surveillance over fixed sites, such as military bases, temporary camps, strategic facilities and border crossing checkpoints.