Comms Balloon Tested Aboard USS Boxer

Monday, December 15, 2008

Members of the Arizona Air National Guard embarked aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) demonstrated an advanced communication platform, the Combat SkySat balloon Dec. 5.

The most modern communication balloon platform available, the Combat SkySat is larger than a weather balloon, and has the potential to provide communications between ship and helicopter, ship to shore, and between those on shore.

"There are some places between leaving ships and during insertions or raids where communication can be problematic," said Arizona Air National Guard Master Sgt. Kris Errett.

"Attached to the SkySat balloon is a communications payload containing global positioning systems, radios, and a hanging antenna. There are separate radios, one to control the payload and another, a communications repeater, for personnel to communicate with each other."

Boxer is the first ship in the fleet to have the new communication balloon platform aboard. It has been developed over the past three years, and this is the first operational underway test to determine future utility for embarked Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU).

With a suspended ballast system, the latex balloon can be controlled to maintain an altitude between 60,000 – 85,000 feet above sea level. On its way up, the instrument cluster gathers information on wind direction and speed.

"Helium or hydrogen can be used to enable the balloon to fly" said Tech. Sgt. Craig Armstrong, Arizona Air National Guard. "We use helium due to its stability and accessibility."

In the base of the balloon is a venting system to release gas in order to reach a lower altitude. Hanging below the antennae is a five-pound box of sand, and by releasing sand the balloon climbs to a higher altitude.

"Once we're done with the mission we release the payload from the balloon," said Errett. "The payload has a parachute attached that opens after being released from the balloon. The balloon then climbs up to 120,000 feet, freezes, and bursts into many tiny pieces"

The Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) is currently underway in support of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Certification Exercise to prepare for an upcoming deployment.

BOXESG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, the 13th MEU, Boxer, USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93), USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 5, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (Rein), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, and Fixed Wing Marine Attack Squadron 214.

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navy

Adm. Swift Takes Command of Pacific Fleet

Adm. Scott H. Swift returned to his home state and relieved Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during a change of command ceremony on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam,

Germany Looking to Dock Submarine Deal with India

The German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is visiting India lobbying for the purchase of German Stealth Submarines and European military hardware, say local media.

Indian Navy Monitoring Activities of China

Amid increasing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean region, Navy Chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan said that Indian Navy “minutely” monitors the activities of its Chinese counterpart in the region,

Communication

SENER holds a FORAN seminar in Wuhan, China

The ‘FORAN new modules, new functions and FEM-Link (Hypermesh) Seminar’ was held on April 23rd in Wuhan. SENER is playing a big role in China, where it has been

Lerwick Port Promoting Shetland Fishing Industry

The importance of investment in the Shetland fishing industry has been highlighted today by Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson. The industry – white fish,

WTO Launches Website for TFA Facility

The TFAF was created at the request of developing country and least-developed country (LDC) members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1185 sec (8 req/sec)