US Military Says 'Yes' to Buying Israeli-Made Spy Balloon

© AP Photo / RT LTA Systems Ltd. via AP videoSkystar 180 aerostat system flies over land
Skystar 180 aerostat system flies over land - Sputnik International
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The US military said that they had approved the purchase of the Skystar 180, an Israeli-made surveillance aerostat.

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The purchase of the Skystar 180, the Israeli-made surveillance balloon designed for collecting intelligence and reconnaissance information, has been okayed by the US military, Israeli sources said.

The approval comes shortly after the Skystar 180 successfully finalized the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, which was needed to shortlist defense products for US acquisition, according to the newspaper Jerusalem Post.

The balloon was made by the Israeli defense firm RT, whose chief executive Rami Shmueli praised the US military's decision.

"The selection and approval of the Skystar 180 by the US Army is evidence of the system’s quality and its high-level technological capabilities, and it is a great honor for us. Our unique aerostat systems are the only long-distance aerial surveillance system that can operate from as high as 600 meters," Shmuel said.

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Based on a towable trailer, the helium-filled Skystar 180 aerostat is capable of carrying day and night electro-optical payloads and a communication relay for up to 72 hours.

The system is operated and maintained by a crew of two, who are particularly responsible for bringing the aerostat down for a 30-minute helium refill.

RT Aerostats Systems are currently supplied to a spate of countries, including Canada, Russia, Afghanistan, Mexico, Thailand and Columbia.

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