Spy balloons for the US Army troops in Afghanistan for video surveillance of insurgents.
The Pentagon is sending dozens of the balloons to Afghanistan to meet a growing military demand for video surveillance of insurgents. Many more spy balloons are needed for the war in Afghanistan, as they are part of an effort escalated by Defense Secretary Gates to rush more tactical military gear for the region to offset the IED (improvised explosive devices) threat for the 30,000 additional troops that President Obama has prepared to send to Afghanistan.
Lockheed Martin Spy Balloons PTDS Persistent Threat Detection System used in Afghanistan
With the spy balloons, "You can spot someone burying an IED or setting up a checkpoint on a road near you; you can catch someone about to mortar your base; you (can) check whether the market is open in a nearby village," Ashton Carter said, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer of tactical military gear.
Therefore the Pentagon is sending dozens of balloons to meet the growing military demand for video surveillance of insurgents. Former Department of Defense Official, Daniel Goure told Fox News that even if the insurgents tried to shoot at the balloon with a sniper rifle it will be very hard to hit it at 1,000 to 2,000 feet in the air, and if hit it would take a whole lot of holes to bring it down and if brought down it will get patched up, filled up and sent back up. All of these features have made spy balloons one of the most cost efficient tactical military gear that the U.S. has to combat IED bombs.
Video Spy balloons in Afghanistan PTDS ( Persistent Threat Detection System)
The military first began shipping special ops tactical equipment in the shape of balloons to Afghanistan to get a better look at how insurgents have increased their planting of the IED’s. This year, insurgents planted 721 bombs compared with 291 last year. Attacks on U.S. and allied forces with makeshift bombs in Afghanistan are 50 percent more deadly than three years ago, reflecting insurgents' use of more powerful explosives and the increased vulnerability of troops who patrol more on foot than in the past. Insurgents using fertilizer-based explosives that lack metal components frustrates attempts to detect buried bombs.
Recently, one of the spy balloons spotted several insurgents planting makeshift IED bombs and the insurgents were able to be captured. Spy balloons are basically small blimps with built-in high powered camera scopes like military binoculars. The camera on the spy balloon can see 10 to 15 miles away. There are more than 30 spy balloons currently in Afghanistan, up from a handful at the beginning of the year and the goal is to have at least 64 of them secured thousands of feet above bases and key roads.