Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Unique training taking place in Dateland

By James Gilbert Yuma Sun Staff Writer

Civilian contractors are being taught how to maintain and operate ground- and balloon-mounted persistent-surveillance systems for the military by a privately owned technology company at a little-known facility near Dateland.

Called the Dateland Training Center (DTC), a research and development branch of the Gilbert-based STARA Technologies, the facility was established about nine years ago as a place to test precision air drop technologies, such as parachute systems.

However, according to DTC President Colin McCavitt, “blimps,” or aerostat/airship-mounted surveillance systems, are being used more often now to help protect U.S. American troops deployed at remote bases in Afghanistan.

About the size of a tractor-trailer truck, McCavitt explained, the airships are tethered to a very tall tower, say at a forward-operating base, and equipped with a wide variety of surveillance systems such as full-motion, 360 degree-panning video cameras and other sensory systems and radars.

He stated that last year the U.S. military bought 30 aerostat/airship-mounted surveillance systems and plans on buying about 30 more again more this year. When that happens, the military will need about 250 to 300 highly trained individuals to operate and maintain them. That is where, McCavitt said, the DTC comes in.

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors | , , , | Leave a comment