PASSAGE – Persistent Airborne Sensor Suite for Arctic Geographical Environments – Weather Implications


  1. Collin, I.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
Canada has a mandate to assert its Arctic sovereignty, and one method of presence being considered is the High Altitude Airship (HAA). This report presents an assessment of the Arctic weather conditions at high altitude, as well as conditions at various sites, from ground level up to the operating altitude. The assessment indicates that operation at high altitudes in winter should not be attempted. The highly unpredictable winds alone would make HAA launch and operation too risky. Summer winds at these altitudes are more predictable and lighter, though not zero, and occasional high winds do occur. The wind direction is not constant, and so it is doubtful that the wind could be used to generate a functional flight path. Summer is also reported to experience regular cloud cover, which means that, although the HAA may be employed in detection, it is unlikely to be able to perform identification. Depending on the HAA’s performance ratings, it should be possible to find acceptable days for launch and descent at almost any chosen location. A simple surveillance pattern shows that it is theoretically possible for the HAA to cover the Northwest Passage area within 14 days, though high winds could have a significant impact. Additionally, this report raises questions as to whether or not this is a cost effective solution to the Arctic surveillance problem, and further research is proposed.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2013-128 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Aug 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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