TCOM Secures $979M Army Tethered Aerostat Support Contract from DoD; Ron Bendlin Quoted

Jeff Brody

TCOM L.P. has been awarded a $979 million hybrid contract to perform engineering, logistics, operations and program management support for the Persistent Surveillance Systems – Tethered (PSS-T) Program from the Department of Defense, TCOM announced on Thursday. 

“While TCOM has been a world leader in aerostat platforms for decades, we are very proud that the US Army has selected Team TCOM to provide operational support and sustaining engineering to these sophisticated surveillance systems,” said Matthew McNiel, VP of Business Development, TCOM, L.P.

TCOM plans for the associated work to occur at its facilities in Columbia, MD and Elizabeth City, NC as well as Aberdeen, MD; Tobyhanna, PA and Yuma, AZ. The work is estimated to be completed in June 2024. 

The objective of this acquisition is to support PD Aerostats' mission requirements to support Combatant Commanders and joint agency requirements. The PSS-T aerostat fleet consists of a medium and a large size capable of persistent, integrated, networked, and multi-sensor information collection by operating for long periods of time at an altitude to maximize the line of sight and field of regard of on-board systems.

System modernization will incrementally enhance aerostat systems to mitigate obsolescence, to increase effectiveness and to provide survivability improvements.  Common mooring platforms, improved tethers and varied envelope sizes, will decrease the logistical footprint and address obsolescence while creating an adaptive interchangeable platform to support both short- and long-term missions.

According to defense media reports, PSS-T provides combat-proven capability that addresses two of the current intelligence capability gaps in the collection and intelligence enterprise. PSS-T is a highly persistent low-altitude platform that offers inherent cost savings per flight hour as compared to current manned and unmanned airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets. 

“We highly value the opportunity to be in partnership with the US Army to support this critical mission.  This win results from continuous investment in our corporate strategy and valued employees, further advancing our position as a global leader in delivering integrated ISR solutions to the Department of Defense. We look forward to building on this opportunity to help serve the needs of the U.S. military as well as allied nations with similar needs,” said Ron Bendlin, President & CEO, TCOM, L.P.

About TCOM L.P.

TCOM, L.P. is a global leader of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) solutions of Lighter-than-Air Persistent Surveillance Tethered Aerostat platforms for Air, Maritime, and Land. Since 1971, the company’s pioneering innovations have defined the persistent surveillance and Lighter-than-Air industries. By blending leading-edge technology, manufacturing and field operation capabilities, TCOM has provided ISR systems for the United States and foreign governments with complete persistent surveillance capabilities. 

TCOM’s headquarters are based in Columbia, MD, and the Manufacturing & Flight Test Facility is located near Elizabeth City, NC. TCOM is the only company in the world devoted to cost-effective LTA surveillance solutions with in-house aerostat and airship manufacturing, assembly, flight test, and training capabilities.

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