Poland has made a formal request to purchase aerostats for air surveillance, Mariusz Błaszczak, the country’s Defence Minister, reported on Friday.
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“Today we have sent a Letter of Request for the acquisition of ‘Barbara’ air surveillance aerostats for the Polish Army. We want to maximize our capabilities in the field of radar airborne ground surveillance,” he wrote on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, the spokesman for the Armament Agency, told the Polish Press Agency that the aerostats would be one of the elements of the radar surveillance system, which would also include the Saab 340 airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft. Poland plans to acquire two such machines from Sweden.
The spokesman also explained that radars mounted on aircraft and aerostats have an advantage over radars on the ground. They can detect low-flying objects entering Polish airspace which operate below the horizon of ground-based radars.
Dziś wysłaliśmy zapytanie ofertowe LOR dotyczące pozyskania rozpoznawczych aerostatów "Barbara" dla Wojska Polskiego. Chcemy maksymalnie zwiększyć nasze możliwości w zakresie radiolokacyjnego rozpoznania przestrzeni powietrznej i nawodnej. pic.twitter.com/iNCreZA6Ve
— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) May 26, 2023
Surveillance aerostats are stationary aircraft filled with lighter-than-air gas. Deployed at various locations and equipped with appropriate radars they can monitor Poland’s airspace and collect data on low-flying objects.