World View, Sierra Nevada uncrewed balloons to allow stratospheric ISR
World View and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) have agreed to jointly develop uncrewed stratospheric balloons for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications purposes.
The partnership will combine SNC’s expertise in defense and aerospace integration, mission systems, and payload with World View’s high-altitude Earth observation capability. The partnership will enable the rapid deployment of high-altitude balloon platforms that can be reliably positioned and responsive within hours or days versus weeks for round-the-clock operations.
The companies have demonstrated a rapidly maneuverable, ultra-persistent wide area communications and ISR platform as part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Project Aether Programme.
The balloons, which can remain in the air for long periods of time, are expected to provide real-time data and uninterrupted communications at higher altitudes and provide longer observing times at a much lower cost than traditional ISR platforms.
SNC, which is the 54th largest defense contractor in the world, according to an annual ranking by Defense News, develops and deploys all-domain command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems worldwide, including high-altitude platforms and collection systems.
Meanwhile, World View has completed more than 115 stratospheric flights including five heavy, full-mass tests over the past seven years, providing customers with high-resolution imagery of Earth via remotely operated stratospheric balloons.