Beware the all-seeing eye.
You know, I remember seeing a few of these in Afghanistan back in 04. The troops at Bagram joked that the only reason these surveillance aerostats were tethered above was to keep an eye on frisky co-eds and boozing Netherlanders.
But as Gen. David Petraeus describes his plans for the future force posture in Iraq one of increasing overwatch and support it only makes sense that Iraq will look more and more like the Israeli border. You can do a lot of surveillance without a lot of manpower using these aerostats, leaving your manpower for quick reaction and the real kinetic kind of stuff.
Raytheon Company has been awarded a $5 million U.S. Army contract option to provide Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) Mobile Eagle Eye tower systems to protect U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.
The contract calls for nine Mobile Eagle Eye elevated sensor systems with deliveries beginning in February 2008. Work will be performed at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems' Integrated Air Defense Center, Andover, Mass., and at the Warfighter Protection Center, Huntsville, Ala.
"The equipment Raytheon is providing to support U.S. military operations is helping to save the lives of our warfighters," said Pete Franklin, vice president, National & Theater Security Programs, for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. "The joint Raytheon and U.S. government team takes great pride in rapidly delivering this critical capability to our soldiers."
Raytheon first developed RAID to meet the military's increasingly critical need for persistent surveillance in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. RAID consists of infrared sensor systems and ground-based motion detection radars, elevated on a stationary platform, capable of detecting hostile troop and equipment movement at great distances. This capability enables U.S. and coalition forces to respond rapidly to threatening situations.