« Back to all articles

Aug 16th 2010, 08:00

Aerostar Flies Revolutionary Fabric for Tethered Aerostats

Aerostar International Flies Revolutionary Fabric for Tethered Aerostats

New Fabric Doubles the Carrying Capacity


SIOUX FALLS, SD—August 16, 2010—Aerostar Internationa, Inc. announces the successful flights and adverse weather testing of their revolutionary proprietary tethered aerostat material HSLAM (High Strength Laminated Aerostat Material). 

Aerostar’s first TIF-25KTM HSLAM Tethered Aerostat has been flying successfully for the last week, weathering numerous severe summer thunderstorms with high winds, gusty rain, and extremely high temperatures without loss of helium or any damage to the aerostat. 

As a tethered aerostat system supplier to the Persistent Ground Surveillance Systems (PGSS) in use protecting Forward Operating Bases in Afghanistan, Aerostar sees great benefits to the Department of Defense in the utilization of HSLAM Aerostats.  “HSLAM aerostats have been designed to carry heavier payloads on a smaller aerostat with a smaller footprint.  The benefit of the smaller physical and logistics footprint is less helium usage which reduces operational expenses for the government” says Lon Stroschein Director, Business Development.  “PGSS and other aerostat programs operating in Afghanistan have been credited saving lives by detecting insurgent activity near Forward Operating Bases.” Stroschein continues, “It’s a great feeling for our employees to know that our South Dakota based manufacturing company is contributing to the war effort while saving money for the tax payers.  Along with our accomplishments with DoD, we consider the HSLAM aerostat the industry’s most affordable and user-friendly platform available for border security, port security, and foreign military operations.”

The TIF-25KTM HSLAM allows the users to carry 100% more payload than the standard material aerostat.  HSLAM is more than 50% lighter and 71% stronger than Aerostar’s traditional aerostat material.  In the case of the TIF-25KTM, the user payload capacity doubles to 500lbs when carried to 3000’ from sea level. 
Raven’s Aerostar Division developed HSLAM from the proprietary material created for use in Space Missile
Defense Command’s high altitude airship program, HiSentinel.  Mark West, Division Manager and Vice President of Raven Industries, was part of a team of engineers that developed the proprietary, ultra-durable 2.2 oz airship material.  After several successful flights, that same team of engineers used that same base material and began to alter it for aerostat use.   When asked about the operational benefits of Aerostar’s new HSLAM aerostat, West said:  “With the UV protective outer laminate, helium retentive layers and the strength of the weave, aerostats made from HSLAM can withstand greater wind speeds, higher internal operating pressures and have better helium retention, a win on all counts.  We are encouraged with the preliminary flight and weather event test results we’ve achieved; this is a giant leap forward in tethered aerostat materials”.

Dan Rykhus, Raven’s Executive Vice President states, “Raven’s Aerostar Division has been engineering and manufacturing lighter than air products since the 1950’s.  We are not new to aerostats and this is not a new product line for us, but it does change how the game is played.  Reducing envelope weight with a derivative of our lightweight airship fabric will allow the Department of Defense, or any of our customers, to deploy additional surveillance, and communication equipment and reduce the size of the aerostat. We are capitalizing on the creativity and production skills which Aerostar brings to our customers.”

Aerostar’s family of tethered aerostat systems, TIF-17KTM, TIF-25KTM, TIF-56KTM, TIF-75KTM and TIF-120KTM are turn-key aerial platforms, allowing users to achieve persistent surveillance, communications, intelligence, and reconnaissance activities.  Border security, port security, IED detection and communications after a natural disaster are just a few of the pressing issues of today which tethered aerostats can assist in resolving.  To lift the same payload with a traditional aerostat it would take an aerostat double the volume of the TIF-25KTM HSLAM Tethered Aerostat System.

Aerostar will be holding their 2nd Annual Demo Days event the week of October 4th at which the TIF-25KTM HSLAM Tethered Aerostat will be the showcased demonstration.  For more information on the HSLAM tethered aerostats or an invitation to the demonstration, please contact Lon Stroschein at Raven Industries.

About Aerostar Division

Aerostar is a division of Raven Industries (Nasdaq NGS: RAVN), a U.S. manufacturer providing tethered aerostats, aerospace products, military products, protective wear and custom inflatables to various markets.  Raven Aerostar has been involved in lighter-than-air products since the 1950’s.  Today, Raven engineers and manufactures aerostats for military and non-military use.  Aerostar also manufactures personnel and cargo parachutes for the US Army, manufactures protective wear for all branches of the military, hi-altitude super-pressure balloons for NASA, hi-altitude airships for the Space Missile Defense Command and custom character inflatables for Macy’s and Disney. 

About Raven Industries, Inc.

Raven is a Sioux Falls based industrial manufacturer providing electronic precision-agriculture products, reinforced plastic sheeting, electronics manufacturing services, and tethered aerostats and sewn products to niche markets.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements regarding the expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future.  Without limiting the foregoing, the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” ”intends,” “may,” “plans,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.  The company intends that all forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.  Although management believes that the expectations reflected in forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance these assumptions are correct or that these expectations will be achieved.  Assumptions involve important risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect results in the future.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those relating to [inability to achieve objectives established for research and development activities], production inefficiencies related to adding new capacity and new capabilities to tethered aerostat production, variability of releases under [indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ)] US government contracts; or changes in competition, raw material availability, technology or relationships with the company’s largest customers—any of which could adversely affect any of the company’s product lines—as well as other risks described in Raven’s 10-K under Item 1A.  This list is not exhaustive, and the company does not have an obligation to revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date these statements are made.