'Battle kites' latest in fixed aerial surveillance concepts

The U.S. military is testing high-tech "battle kites" as a way to provide aerial communications and surveillance support for forward operating bases in war zones too small to support large aerostats, reports Stars and Stripes.

The Army's Rapid Equipping Force is exploring the feasibility of deploying large kites strapped to the bottom of helium-filled balloons as tactical aerostats in Afghanistan, the story said. The Helikites, as they are called, would hoist cameras or radios as high as 6,000 feet above a forward operating base.

The Helikites would fill a niche by furnishing a low-cost alternative to high-altitude unmanned aircraft surveillance support or more satellite bandwidth to troops at the tactical edge, the story said.

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