Russian Air Force to Employ Aerostats and Balloons

Rubric: Russia, Future

An aerostatics service will be founded soon within the Russian Airspace Force; it will take charge of aerobodies – aerostats, balloons and dirigibles. It will also implement new advanced solutions.

According to Izvestia, creation of a new service is provided for in the Airspace Force development concept by 2025.

Aerostat Vega-04

An advantage of aerobodies is their ability to lift considerable payload at high altitude for a long time. Some of the present-day free balloons can rise up to 40,000 meters staying in the air about 30 days and consuming relatively few energy.

Different kinds of aerostats are used by the Russian military even today, though this practice is not widespread yet. During Russia’s campaign in Syria, the Hmeimim airbase was secured by an aerostat. It provided continuous monitoring of surrounding space.

Dirigibles and aerostats of various classes can be used for the purposes of reconnaissance, long-term surveillance, air defense (acting as barrage balloons), electronic jamming, carrying of missile defense radars. It is hard to detect lighter-than-air aircraft by radars and direct missiles on them.

The Pentagon also considered the possibility of active using aerostats in the US air and missile defense system. However, that program was suspended in 2015 when a balloon due to unknown reasons torn away from a mooring mast and collided with power lines which caused power cutoff in the District of Columbia.