RT is an Israeli company that designs and manufactures the SkyStar family of aerostats, for use in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and communications applications. The company was established by former military intelligence and current CEO Rami Shmueli in 1996 and is currently owned in parts by Shmueli (49%) and the Aeronautics Group (51%). The company headquarters and production lines are based in Yavne, Israel, while the company also has offices in Texas. RT operates a factory in the settlement of Katzrin in the occupied Syrian Golan.
The systems are currently deployed worldwide. As to RT’s website “in countries such as Israel, Afghanistan (by US and Canadian Army), Mexico, Russia, African countries, Colombia, East Asia and more”.RT official website – Customers
RT’s chief client is the Israeli army. The company’s first prototype was developed according to the specific requirements of the Israeli army. At present, the combat intelligence collection unit uses the SkyStar 180 and 300 aerostats for collecting tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The aerostats are provided to the army under a multiyear leasing contract with the Israel Ministry of Defense. In Israel, SkyStar systems are equipped with the Speed-A payload by Controp Company.
Usage by Israeli Forces
RT supplied “SkyStar” surveillance balloons to the Israeli army that have deployed it in consecutive military assaults on Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014, during which the Israeli army operated 13 RT balloons. In 2017, RT tested new technology, a SkyStar 110 micro surveillance balloon, in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. In 2018, an identical balloon was documented stationed over a number of Palestinian villages west of Jenin in the West Bank. RT balloons are also stationed on Route 443, a settler road in the West Bank.Who Profits – RT LTA Report.
In 2015 the Israeli Defense Ministry placed orders for additional Skystar 300 aerostats following their heavy usage in the Israeli military operations in 2014 in Gaza.Jerusalem Post : Defense Ministry orders more surveillance aerostats
In 2018 the new Skystar 120 was demonstrated to the Israeli army and was declared as ready for operational use.Israel Defense : Skystar 120 demonstrated to IDF
In August 2021 Israel Defense reported that three of RT’s Skystar aerostats are being operated 24/7 by the Israeli Army overlooking the Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers attend a special course during which they learn how to operate the aerostats, according to the report. The aerostats were also used during Operation “Breaking Dawn”, that was described as “a good exercise” by a Aerostat Operations Room Commander of the Army.“We can see for miles into the Gaza Strip” According to the report Aerostats are also operating at the Egyptian Border.“We can see for miles into the Gaza Strip”
At 2016 RT established a subsidiary company named “Aero-T”, which specializes in the development and manufacture of large aerostats.RT LTA Enters The Large Aerostats Market With A New Subsidiary “Aero-T”
Controp which is another subsidiary of Aeronautics Defense Systems is RT’s subcontractor of choice for the supply of stabilized electro-optical payloads.