In today’s conjuncture, the terrorist activities are the most compelling issue for the defence forces in
maintaining homeland security. Especially, the terrorist elements that penetrate the homeland may give harm.
This harm can be minimized by preventing the terrorist penetrations from homeland borders. In counter
terrorism, having Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability and using this capability by
twenty four hours is deterrence for the terrorist groups.
Aerostats emerge as the ideal platform which can provide this capability. Aerostats are unmanned and
aerodynamically shaped balloons that are stayed in the air, fixed to the ground by steel cable(s). The aerostat is
made of a large fabric envelope that is filled with nonflammable helium gas, which provides the lifting force.
The cables also serve to supply the electrical power to the aerostat systems, and for data relay between the
aerostat and the ground station. Aerostats are different from the other manned and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
(UAVs) because of aerostats’ capabilities such as cost effectiveness, long endurance and high resolution image
transmission. Especially having uninterrupted image transmission and surveillance capabilities is important to be
advantageous in counter terrorism.
In this article, a short definition of terrorism has been given and then the importance of ensuring the
homeland border security has been emphasized in counter terrorism. In addition, the questions of “what are the
technical capabilities, the usage areas and the purposes of aerostats?” will be introduced as a result of literature
review. Finally the strengths and weaknesses of aerostats, opportunities and threats for the near future will be
introduced by using “SWOT” analysis method.