Tactically Expedient Aerostat (TEA)

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The TEA (pronounced Tee Uh) achieves several critical operational objectives as an elevating platform


Watch a TEA During Launch & Recovery

Click here for a downloadable spec sheet.

Click here to see our mooring platform.

Quick and easy deployability on the ground as shown, on a trailer or boat; fully self-contained with power, helium, and tools

  • Low acquisition costs
  • Low operating costs, for both helium and manpower
  • High reliability, in winds up to 70 knots, dust, and other difficult operating conditions

As a basis for the TEA and after considerable engineering and operational study, we adopted the Desert Star Helikite aerostat, first patented in 1993, as the aerostat component of our TEA.  For more information on this well-proven, widely used aerostat, see www.allsopp.co.uk. It combines helium and wind lift, to provide stable and very efficient lift in most operational circumstances.  The distinction between the TEA and Helikite is that the TEA is the total integrated system, complete with tailored power, various payloads, alternative mooring concepts and support.  Significantly, the Helikite comes in a large variety of sizes, so that your TEA system can be efficiently sized to your requirements.  Too large, and you spend too much on helium; too small, and you don’t get the lift you need.  The Helikite has been refined over the years with a large USAF Small Business Innovative Research contract.  More evaluations have been conducted recently by the US Army's Rapid Equipping Force, with a result of multiple systems deploying to Afghanistan. The TEA shown here is a 75 cubic meter aerostat, approximately 9 meters long, 7 meters wide, and 10 feet high. It can be flown from an inflatable ground base, shown here, or a trailer, which contains all the power, helium and equipment to execute a mission.

Each TEA is custom-sized for the customer's needs, to enhance best value for each dollar invested. Too small and it can't support the mission; too large, you're wasting money on needless helium. SkySentry's TEA inventory scales in size from tiny—about 5 cubic meters and lifting about 2 kilograms, to as large as 100 cubic meters, lifting 50 kilograms. The TEA usually flies at 1,000 meters or lower, but can be designed for higher altitudes. Certain models have flown extensively from ships, trucks, and trailers. Re-pressurizing top offs are required about each ten days. Complete training, tool, and spare parts packages are available with each purchase.