ENRIC SALA/Courtesy of National Geographic Society

Desert Star Helikite


The Desert Star Helikite is a tethered aerostat and is made out of materials that protect the craft from abrasions or knocks, giving it a reputation for strength and durability.

The tough guy: The Desert Star is usually able to reach altitudes above firing range; however, if the craft does happen to get shot by gunfire, it has the ability to remain operational for a period of time after penetration. This allows for the craft to be retained, repaired and redeployed and makes this option ideal for deployments in difficult and hostile environments.

Strength in diversity: The Desert Star can meet a range of user size requirements, which allows for flexibility in costs and payload options. The Desert Star has the ability to carry any shape, size and type of payload with little or no modifications.

All good things come in pairs: Only two people are needed to operate the Desert Star, no matter the size of the craft, allowing for lower operational costs.

Top-of-the-line: The Desert Star comes equipped with a list of special features that allow the system to lift heavy payloads, withstand high winds and fly at high altitudes. For example, the kite-sail provides extra wind lift and contributes to craft stability. This aerostat is well-suited for difficult operating environments – take that, wind and rain!


Volume: 5 cubic meters
Length: 3 meters
Width: 2 meters
Maximum Operating Atltitude: 610 meters (without payload)
Lift: 1 (no wind) to 9 kilograms (15 mph wind)
Max Wind Speed: 64 kilometers per hour

Originally designed for the US and British Armies and deployed to Afghanistan, these helikites are still in service.
  • Company: Allsopp Helikites Limited

  • Type: Aerostats

  • Direct Cost: UK£3,500 for aerostat/custom fitting for equipment/flight testing/one day training

  • Indirect Cost: Option to purchase a decoy helikite; option for additional payload options and accessories such as universal camera mount, steady cam rod and night-time warning lights, among others.

  • Link: Product Website

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MANU SAN FELIX/Courtesy of National Geographic Society

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