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A concept artist's sketch shows the LEMV in flight. The massive 250-ft airship, built by Lockheed Martin will be floating over Afghanistan, gathering intelligence in 2011. It can fly three weeks without stopping for fuel.  (Source: Gizmodo)

Lockheed Martin has already successfully tested a smaller, 125-ft hybrid airship, the P-791. The P-791, pictured here in flight, made six test flights in 2006.  (Source: YouTube)
Airships to play critical role in future warfare

In the early twentieth century, airships were a promising new front of warfare, with dirigibles serving both for bombing and for intelligence gathering.  However, the advent of airplanes and key disasters such as the Hindenburg fire spelled the death of the airship as a war weapon.  Airships still stuck around, though, in the form of the blimps that float over sporting events.  They also frequently appeared in fantasy and science fiction, where they served as key attack aircraft or command centers in such works as the Marvel comic book universe (the SHIELD helicarrier), Final Fantasy, Aeon Flux, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Now airships are poised to make a real life return to the battlefront.  Measuring 250 feet in length, Lockheed Martin's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) is sure to make an imposing presence on the battlefield when it debuts in mid-2011.

The ship is capable of carrier passengers, or being remotely controlled by operators in the U.S.  The airship can sit at up to 20,000 feet for as long as three weeks at a time.  The LEMV is actually a special kind of airship called a hybrid airship.  Where most airships are lighter than air when flying, hybrid airships are heavier than air, though they do get some of their buoyancy from gas compartments.  The rest comes from lift during flight (like airplanes).  Some, like LEMV, feature turbines on their underside to help them initially launch into the air, though they still require a short runway.

The materials which compose the three lobes of the aircraft have not been released, so its hard to assess how resistant to enemy fire they will be.  Given, the craft's cruising height, though, it should be able to remain relatively safe.  The aircraft carries its instruments and sensors in a 40-foot long, 15-foot wide area behind the cockpit.  The sensor payload will be 2,500 pounds and draw 16 Kw of power.

The outlandish airship will see test deployment to the battlefield in Afghanistan two years from now.  It will be used primarily for intelligence.

Lockheed Martin is also developing separate airships to transport large amounts of cargo at lower altitudes.  The LEMV and Lockheed's other airships are largely based on the 125-foot P-791 hybrid airship, built and tested in 2006.  The P-791 showed itself capable of taking flight, carrying heavy loads, and executing sharp turns over six test flights.



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Ummm...
By MrPoletski on 9/25/2009 8:49:31 AM , Rating: 3
As far as I can see all it would take is a single low-tech AA missile fired from a Mig 15...




RE: Ummm...
By BrandtTheMan on 9/25/2009 8:52:53 AM , Rating: 5
I'm sure they have already thought of that. I'll bet money that it'll take something much bigger to bring that down.


RE: Ummm...
By Pneumothorax on 9/25/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ummm...
By AnnihilatorX on 9/25/2009 9:10:56 AM , Rating: 1
Stinger? This airship cruise at too high of an altitude for the human eye to see!


RE: Ummm...
By MrBlastman on 9/25/2009 10:17:34 AM , Rating: 5
Err... I can see aircraft at 20,000 feet every day when I look up into the sky. Heck, I can see them higher as most commercial airliners cruise at 30,000 - 35,000 feet. I'm not sure what you are talking about. Hopefully you are making some sort of pun making fun of a Russian comment or something with cruise being improperly used.

Now, a Stinger "probably" would be useless against it since it has a heat-seeking warhead. The underbody of this "blimp" would more than likely be pretty cool. If they wanted to shoot it down, I would say their best bet would be truck-mounted AAA such as an S-60 or ZSU-23--this is assuming the Afghani resistance:

a. Possesses no aircraft
b. if they did, they were grounded

I seriously doubt they'd be able to muster up anything more than that to take it out. Oh, and about that Stinger, it has a maximum altitude of 15,700 feet. This blimp floats far above its ceiling, so even if it could get a lock, it would be pointless.

Now, against any other first line army, I think the blimp would be fodder unless we had air superiority first. At that point, using this would be utterly humiliating to the enemy. We might as well load it up with urine disposal tanks to drop it on their heads! :)

I would say a UAV is far more practical for all intents and purposes given their size, airspeed and armament in most cases. This is more of that "scare the bejezus out of the enemy forces with that floating, burning eye in the sky."


RE: Ummm...
By omnicronx on 9/25/2009 2:41:44 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Err... I can see aircraft at 20,000 feet every day when I look up into the sky. Heck, I can see them higher as most commercial airliners cruise at 30,000 - 35,000 feet.
But what are you seeing? The actual plane? The light beacons? A reflective surface hitting the sun? The exaust stream? This kind of aircraft could be quite hard to pinpoint in the sky, and you cannot compare it to a jet directly. I imagine if a jet at 20k had no exaust, was not reflected and had no running lights it would be much harder to find. It would be nothing more than a small dot, and you would surely have to know where to look.


RE: Ummm...
By Cypherdude1 on 9/25/2009 11:22:55 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
stingers can aquire a target using optical recognition in addition to heat seeking. they can also fly up to about 7 miles. this is a very stupid idea to put into practice. 1 $10,000 stinger and the air force is out $250 million.

Actually, the FIM-92 Stinger has a range of 15,750 ft:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinger_missile

The Russian 57 mm AZP S-60 has a range of 3.72 mi (19,642 ft) and that's if it's radar guided. It's probably not. If it's only optically guided, its range is only 2.48 mi (13,094 ft):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/57_mm_AZP_S-60

Since the airship's range is 20K ft, there shouldn't be any problems, especially since the Taliban doesn't have an air force. Of course, they might be able to convince a rogue fundamentalist Pakistani pilot to shoot it down. Regardless, an airship requires air superiority and constant radar sector monitoring.

For years, I have said a fleet of airships would be useful in scanning the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The weakness the Soviets had was the Mujahideen [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mujahiddin (Wikipedia is a great reminder/reference)] could simply walk across the border unnoticed and attack at will. With a fleet of airships monitoring the border, a large footprint may not even be needed on the ground. Predator drones could be called in every time a target is sited. The entire war could be conducted by remote control aircraft! It's the Terminator series come to life!!


RE: Ummm...
By Chillin1248 on 9/26/2009 12:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, can't go into detail on this.

Israel has been using inflated baloon (kind of like the one you see over a game stadium) for quite a while on the borders. To my knowledge Hamas and Hezbollah or any other terrorist group has never downed one of them, and they sit much, much lower than this one.

So I highly doubt the Taliban or most other groups will be able to down this airship, especially if it is equiped with some type of defense.

-------
Chillin


RE: Ummm...
By Chillin1248 on 9/26/2009 12:52:36 AM , Rating: 2
Here is a public photo of one of them:

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00zeflrbySdF2/...

As you can see, it is not a hard target to spot; yet they haven't brought them down yet.

-------
Chillin


RE: Ummm...
By headbox on 9/27/2009 12:48:53 AM , Rating: 5
Stop making sense and let the armchair generals display their amazing technical knowledge of aerial combat.


RE: Ummm...
By MrPoletski on 9/28/2009 10:38:15 AM , Rating: 1
What would bringing one of those things down achieve?


RE: Ummm...
By jonmcc33 on 9/29/2009 6:36:26 AM , Rating: 2
RPGs just aren't that accurate nor do they have that sort of range.


RE: Ummm...
By 91TTZ on 9/26/2009 8:52:57 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
But what are you seeing? The actual plane? The light beacons? A reflective surface hitting the sun? The exaust stream? This kind of aircraft could be quite hard to pinpoint in the sky, and you cannot compare it to a jet directly. I imagine if a jet at 20k had no exaust, was not reflected and had no running lights it would be much harder to find. It would be nothing more than a small dot, and you would surely have to know where to look.


I'm always amazed at how clueless people on Dailytech are. Do you really have no idea? If so, why even comment?

You'll have absolutely no problem seeing this at 20,000 feet. None at all. You can easily see a jet at 35,000 feet, and I'm talking about the jet itself and not any bright reflection or contrails.


RE: Ummm...
By mindless1 on 9/26/2009 5:53:24 PM , Rating: 5
... but if they paint it light blue with a picture of Obama's head on the bottom, people will run in fear of God, or nationalized health care.


RE: Ummm...
By chagrinnin on 9/26/2009 11:38:18 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a clue,...because we can. That seems kind o' obvious, but then....you commented,...go figure.
:P


RE: Ummm...
By jmunjr on 9/26/2009 11:27:06 AM , Rating: 2
It will be less than 5 miles from SEA LEVEL, so in Afghanistan it will be what? 4 miles from the surface? That thing is as big as a medium-sized skyscraper, so it'll be very noticable at that altitude.


RE: Ummm...
By jmunjr on 9/26/2009 11:28:37 AM , Rating: 2
excuse me, less than 4 miles from sea level, and as little as 3 miles from the surface in Afghanistan..


RE: Ummm...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/28/2009 11:17:45 AM , Rating: 2
The "exhaust stream" is a contrail, not jet exhaust. Some military aircraft still show black jet exhaust, but usually only on take off.


RE: Ummm...
By wetwareinterface on 9/25/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ummm...
By ArcliteHawaii on 9/25/2009 11:50:02 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. You'd really only be able to use this in the most primitive of theaters, like Afghanistan. 20,000 feet is only 4 miles. A 250' blimp will be slow and visible, not to mention the country has mountains taller than the airship loiter altitude (Mt. Noshaq is 24,000 ft tall). Such a craft could be vulnerable not only to standard anti aircraft weapons like AAA (zsu 23, etc.) and SAMs (SA-14, etc.) but also other weapons like wire-guided anti tank missiles and even standard artillery. The AC 130 Spectre gunship is faster, better armed, and better armored, but it only operates at night for these very reasons.

I wonder with these down-sides what benefits this offers over something like the Global Hawk, excepting total loiter time? The GH can loiter for 24 hours at 65,000 feet. It's much smaller and has a much smaller radar profile, vastly increasing survivability. GH RQ-4B variant payload is 3000 lbs. which exceeds this airship's payload.


RE: Ummm...
By Samus on 9/26/2009 5:45:21 AM , Rating: 2
No heet seeking weapons will likely target this thing. I'm sure its made out of carbon fiber or some polycarbon material so metalic targeting wont work, either. Furthermore, its gases are non-explosive and it has three envelopes, and although design schematics are unknown, I'd be willing to bet ALL of them could fail and it still wouldn't "crash" but likely fall like a helicopter (in a semi-controlled manner, able to decline at such an angle it ends up in safe(r) territory.)

Overall, this is probably a cost effective solution to current UAV's which cost more to operate over the same period of time (fuel, maintenance, etc)

But we'll see how it pans out :)


RE: Ummm...
By ArcliteHawaii on 9/26/2009 5:01:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree it won't be easy to take down, but I think it certainly will present a target that the insurgents will try to take down, if only for propagandistic reasons. You're probably right that the engines won't have a strong heat signature, but they'll have some.


RE: Ummm...
By AnnihilatorX on 9/25/2009 3:31:48 PM , Rating: 1
You serious? The planes you can see are when they are flying low altitude. Those you see with a cloud trail is either climbing up flying low altitude or similar. Planes begin to fly low roughly 30 minutes before they reach destination (or just took off). Wingspan of Boeing 747 is 500 feet, looking up 30000 feet the angle of observation is merely 0.000006 degrees. There is no human eye that can resolve that.


RE: Ummm...
By MarkHark on 9/25/2009 4:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
How did you get that figure?

A 500 feet span at 30.000 feet distance is a ratio of roughly 1/60

On a quick approximation, I estimate it to be just short of 1 degree, and that is certainly visible, as would be a 5-story building at 1 km.


RE: Ummm...
By juan501 on 9/25/2009 4:27:18 PM , Rating: 3
The MAX wingspan for the 747 is 224 ft, not 500. Most variants actually have a shorter wingspan. Oh, and if you look up in the sky, you can see aircraft flying at over 30,000 ft.

The blimp would most likely utilize a surface coloring to reduce visibility, but as said before, it would be for regions where we own the sky.


RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/25/2009 4:39:50 PM , Rating: 2
Try that again? I'm getting 0.716


RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/25/2009 4:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
Err for the blimp that is.


RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/25/2009 4:43:49 PM , Rating: 2
With your numbers for the plane I get 0.955 degrees.

Yay for no post editing...


RE: Ummm...
By radializer on 9/25/2009 4:40:37 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Wingspan of Boeing 747 is 500 feet, looking up 30000 feet the angle of observation is merely 0.000006 degrees. There is no human eye that can resolve that.


Your math is way off!!

If any object of 500ft size is 30000ft away, the angle subtended at the human eye is:-

theta = arctangent(500/30000) ~ 0.95 degrees - not 0.000006 degrees (which is 5 orders of magnitude off!)

Considering that the average human eye with 20/20 vision can resolve two points spaced 5 arcminutes apart, at a distance of 30000 ft, the average person should be able to see an object that is ~ 50 feet across (assuming there no obvious atmospheric issues such as smoke, smog or cloud-cover).


RE: Ummm...
By 91TTZ on 9/26/2009 9:01:52 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
You serious? The planes you can see are when they are flying low altitude. Those you see with a cloud trail is either climbing up flying low altitude or similar. Planes begin to fly low roughly 30 minutes before they reach destination (or just took off). Wingspan of Boeing 747 is 500 feet, looking up 30000 feet the angle of observation is merely 0.000006 degrees. There is no human eye that can resolve that.


Stop posting, NOW.

You are absolutely clueless. Just about everything you say is incorrect and completely idiotic. Stop spewing this nonsense.

1. The planes you see are NOT all flying at low altitude. You can see an airliner at maximum altitude.

2. The planes you see with contrails are NOT only climbing up or flying at low altitude. That's what they look like at their cruising altitude which is usually around 35,000 feet.

3. The wingspan of a 747 is NOT 500 feet. It's not even half that. A simple search on Wikipedia would tell you that. you could have spend an extra 20 seconds and not looked like an idiot.

4. Your math is nonsense and you're trying to make it look like you have a point, which you don't.

You can help Dailytech's forum out by refraining from posting garbage.


RE: Ummm...
By MrPoletski on 9/28/2009 4:46:09 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
You can help Dailytech's forum out by refraining from posting garbage.


or... he could start posting GW blogs here...
:p


RE: Ummm...
By scrapsma54 on 9/27/2009 3:44:14 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, no, just no. I am sure Lockheed knew the implications of this approach. Yeah, I am sure if you have good enough vision, you could see it. But hitting a little dot? in the sky? If a sniper cannot hit it what are the chances a rocket is?


RE: Ummm...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/28/2009 11:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
Well, if they did have ground to air capability, they would light themselves up when they tried to acquire this target (because it is a slow fat target) and that's where the loitering defensive air power would come in to take out the ground radar. I'm sure this has missile counter measures as well.


RE: Ummm...
By mino on 9/30/2009 8:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
This will be shot at the old optical way.
I will bet on that. Any 60's vintage AA gun will do. And the are PLENTY 70's-80's era guns around. Even in AFG.

IMO thi will be used for loiter mostly over friedly territory like bases or cities.
I see its usefulness more as "Police" tool instead of an "Army" tool.


RE: Ummm...
By Amiga500 on 9/25/2009 9:10:22 AM , Rating: 5
A stinger is never gonna be good for 20,000 feet.


RE: Ummm...
By Shadowself on 9/25/2009 10:00:07 AM , Rating: 2
And what if the launch is done from a 12,000 ft peak? Shoulder launched missiles can certainly reach up 8,000 ft above the launch. Mobile platform mounted (e.g., jeep mounted) launchers can reach even higher.

You can certainly see a craft that is 250 ft long and has this girth that is only 8,000 ft above you. This is a very, very slow moving craft and it's job is to loiter over a specific area for weeks at a time. Finding it (even with simple binoculars) won't be difficult.

We need to remember that the average altitude of very large regions of Afghanistan is over 8,000 ft. In fact the average altitude of the entire country is over 6,000 ft. Regions with higher altitudes, including the the nearby mountains to some major cities (e.g.,Kabul where nearby peaks reach over 18,000 ft) will be hazardous to this ship.

The ONLY way this airship makes sense is if it can take multiple missile hits and still stay aloft. Any other scenario makes it just bait and other systems (A-10s, Reapers, Sky Warriors, etc.) will take out the attackers after the fact.


RE: Ummm...
By mcnabney on 9/25/2009 10:15:18 AM , Rating: 3
This thing is not a jet.

No engine = no massive heat signature to lock onto.

I am sure it will have a typical flare/chaff package to deal with SA or AA missiles.

Anyway, this isn't designed to function over battlefields that we don't already own the skies.


RE: Ummm...
By Shadowself on 9/25/2009 1:58:36 PM , Rating: 1
It it's supplying 16 kW of power to the sensors and comm gear AND has to use engines of some kind to keep it aloft (since it's heavier than air) then it will most definitely have a heat signature.

And as for anti missile deterrents this is easily solved. Fire several over the course of several days. If it is supposed to be up there for weeks, these resources can easily be depleted in an afternoon. The last in the series of missiles hits the big, hot target.

And owning the skies means nothing if a few teams of a hand full of individuals is roaming the nearby mountains taking shots, moving, taking shots, moving, repeat, repeat until it's down.

As I said, this only makes sense if it can survive several hits -- or is bait for attacks by other resources.


RE: Ummm...
By Manch on 9/26/2009 12:41:44 AM , Rating: 5
As a member of the Armed Forces, thank GOD we don't develop our weapon systems base off your Command and Conquer gaming experience. I don't think they developed this by farming tiberium and right clicking build airship. Just for kicks I took a look and no where on the picture of the airship did I see a green life bar under it.


RE: Ummm...
By Amiga500 on 9/25/2009 10:53:02 AM , Rating: 3
A stinger has a range of approx 15,500 ft and an altitude ceiling of around 12,500 ft.

Take from that what you will.

Don't forget two other things (for visual ID):
1. Low flying aircraft are detected mainly by sound - then ID'd visually.
2. High altitude aircraft are detected mainly by contrails - then ID'd visually.


RE: Ummm...
By Morphine06 on 9/25/2009 12:53:43 PM , Rating: 3
My grandfather was a blimp pilot. They mainly used blimps to track subs. They basically just followed them and circled them with flares. It would be an act of war to shoot one down. First strike on a blimp would be just silly, especially when your exact last coordinates were relayed.

Harassing them out of the area was the effective intent.


RE: Ummm...
By Mojo the Monkey on 9/25/2009 1:42:22 PM , Rating: 4
This is true. People fail to account for the fact that this thing will likely be stationed/deployed over an area where allied forces have ground control for MILES around it. even if a stinger could go 20,000 ft. (it cant), they would have to fire from DIRECTLY beneath it. The likely total range needed to hit this thing from a realistic launch distance would be quite ridiculous.


RE: Ummm...
By ArcliteHawaii on 9/26/2009 12:04:05 AM , Rating: 2
The terrain in Afghanistan is very mountainous. The 12,000' ceiling of the Stinger or SA-18 assumes firing from sea level. Fired from higher up, it can go higher, not only due to starting at a higher elevation, but also because the air is thinner causing less friction and increasing the missile's range and ceiling (the very reason airliners fly at high altitudes). Some of the mountains in Afghanistan actually exceed the blimp's operating altitude by several thousand feet. While this is a remote possibility, you can bet they'll try and have a greater chance of success against something like this than something like the Global Hawk.


RE: Ummm...
By VultureTX on 9/25/2009 11:29:47 AM , Rating: 2
Well you are right about the elevations in Afghanistan.

But the take down item will most likely by a Soviet designed 14.5 mm anti aircraft gun as mentioned elsewhere. Soon as you spot this behemoth with a pair of binoculars, the rest is just a matter of aiming.

Chinese type 56 or Russian zpu-1 or maybe an old PTRD.


RE: Ummm...
By seraphim1982 on 9/25/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ummm...
By Shadowself on 9/25/2009 1:50:48 PM , Rating: 5
Thinner air has no negative effect (well maybe for maneuverability of the rocket but this is an extremely slowly moving target). Solid rockets such as these types pack both an oxidizer and fuel in the same matrix material in the overall propellant. Thus the range at higher altitude for a rocket is actually slightly better (less air resistance).


RE: Ummm...
By ironargonaut on 9/26/2009 2:36:08 AM , Rating: 2
Or if it has a vulcan defense systme and shoots down anything shot at it.


RE: Ummm...
By inperfectdarkness on 9/25/2009 2:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
stinger? who needs a stinger?

how about an sa-18? sa-24?

manpads definately have the reach. even aircraft at 30k could be struck if the circumstances were right.


RE: Ummm...
By ArcliteHawaii on 9/26/2009 12:14:00 AM , Rating: 2
Er, an SA 18 has a ceiling of 11,000. They'd get the blimp if they were up on a mountainside. Not sure they'd be able to get anything at 30,000' though. The SA 24 Grinch is a new version of the SA 18, but it only offers better tracking and counter-countermeasure capability, not increased range.

I'd be more concerned about wire-guided anti tank missiles. They have longer range and a larger warhead to boot.


RE: Ummm...
By Griswold on 9/25/2009 9:10:08 AM , Rating: 4
You'd lose that bet.

The goal, however, is to make sure this thing wont be attacked in the first place. CAP comes to mind - just like the combat air patrols that protect battlegroups. But that, of course, depends on the scenario.

In a low-tec battlefield such as afghanistan for example, sitting at 6-7km altitude should be enough to consider it safe.

Not like the taliban own a couple combat aircraft. Then again, 8 years ago, a bunch of terrorists used commercial planes as weapons...


RE: Ummm...
By wavetrex on 9/25/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/25/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ummm...
By JediJeb on 9/25/2009 12:29:20 PM , Rating: 3
But with the electronics package in this thing just imagine what the Electronic Countermeasure would be like. This could be an Avenger on steroids for that purpose( or is it the Skyraider, I get the ECM unit wrong sometimes).

20,000 feet high doesnt sound like much but if it can also be 10 miles away and still see the target then that is over 70,000 feet you would have to shoot to hit it. Put some heavy duty Kevlar under its skin would also help against the AAA. It is a known fact that it takes quiet a few bullet holes to even start to bring down a hot air baloon, if the ballast bladders are self healing then that helps also. I wouldn't count this thing out too quickly, there are more defences possible for it than we will know for years I imagine.


RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/25/2009 1:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But with the electronics package in this thing just imagine what the Electronic Countermeasure would be like. This could be an Avenger on steroids for that purpose( or is it the Skyraider, I get the ECM unit wrong sometimes).


No doubt. Then again, manually aimed AAA isn't affected by ECMs.

quote:
20,000 feet high doesnt sound like much but if it can also be 10 miles away and still see the target then that is over 70,000 feet you would have to shoot to hit it.


Hence why I said a well sited AA cannon. I don't expect that the Taliban are going to just be able to drive up to a blimp and just start shooting without repercussions. I do think that if a blimp is stupid enough to fly over areas where the Taliban could hide heavy AAA, it would be quite vulnerable.

quote:
Put some heavy duty Kevlar under its skin would also help against the AAA. It is a known fact that it takes quiet a few bullet holes to even start to bring down a hot air baloon, if the ballast bladders are self healing then that helps also.


Depends on the AAA. I wouldn't want to be around if the Taliban are able to bring something appreciably heavier than a 50 caliber machine gun to the party.

quote:
I wouldn't count this thing out too quickly, there are more defences possible for it than we will know for years I imagine.


I don't believe I did. For the task it is expected to perform and the support I expect it will get, I imagine it will do the trick.


RE: Ummm...
By ironargonaut on 9/26/2009 2:34:20 AM , Rating: 1
Very simple defense system. Vulcan. Radar controlled they can and do, detect and destroy incoming mortar rounds in the green zone. Have been placed on ships to destroy incoming missiles. AA and any missile can easily be destroyed. Now a 50 cal fired from a mountain top might be able to get a few holes before the ground attack lazer fries them.(purely speculating on the last bit)


RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/26/2009 9:52:50 AM , Rating: 3
Lazers? Pah. Give it phasers and photon torpedoes. That'll turn it into a real killer.

Of course regarding the Vulcan cannon on a blimp, used for anti-anti-aircraft, you have a few problems:

How much ammo will this vulcan be able to carry? How much ammo will it expend per incoming AA round? While they are effective against relatively slow moving mortar rounds, anti-ship missiles, and crude rockets, how effective is the system against rounds with a muzzle velocity in excess of 2500 feet per second? You mention that a 50 cal could probably get through, what about a 40mm cannon firing at a rate of 300 rounds per minute? Those could still do damage, especially with 300 per minute flying up.


RE: Ummm...
By ArcliteHawaii on 9/26/2009 12:18:34 AM , Rating: 2
Kevlar would add too much weight. The max payload is only 2500 lbs. Something this large could take probably take a lot of non explosive rounds before having to come down for repairs. Something explosive is really the concern here.


RE: Ummm...
By 91TTZ on 9/25/2009 2:15:20 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'm sure they have already thought of that. I'll bet money that it'll take something much bigger to bring that down.


Wrong.

They're depending on it not getting hit.


RE: Ummm...
By Sahrin on 9/25/2009 9:06:27 AM , Rating: 2
While the Taliban's weapons are multidinous and dangerous, methinks they do not include a full complement of Air Interceptors, weapons, ground crews, radar intercept teams, maintenance support, and weapons. They do have access to short range SAM's (mostly shoulder SAM's like SA-7 and Stinger) - which will be hard pressed to reach the cruising altitude.

In addition to that, the USAF maintains a healthy air defense presence over the Middle East (where they have had air superiority since the fall of Iraq and Afghanistan's Air Forces)

I think it'll probably be alright. The Taliban simply do not have access (or if they did, it was destroyed long ago) to the kind of hardware needed to bring something like this down. The exception may be a mobile SAM site, but again, you are talking about 3-5 10,000 pound vehicles being hidden, operated, and maintained in treachorous terrain. Mostly these guys are working with Comp B and Kalashnikovs. They're dangerous enough that way, no need to endow them with fully armed military establishment.


RE: Ummm...
By Hieyeck on 9/25/2009 10:17:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In addition to that, the USAF maintains a healthy air defense presence over the Middle East (where they have had air superiority since the fall of Iraq and Afghanistan's Air Forces)

Because there aren't ANY nations in the middle east which hate the US enough that they risk world opinion in denying the holocaust just to piss of the States and its allies, while conveniently armed with American aircraft (albeit from the 70s).

</sarcasm> Just in case it wasn't obvious enough.


RE: Ummm...
By Kougar on 9/25/2009 11:47:13 AM , Rating: 3
There were Anti-Aircraft guns utilized in WWII that ranged up to 60,000 feet, so it shouldn't take a huge gun or a ground crew to pop up and shoot this thing down. I bet it's far more likely the gun operators wouldn't have the training to aim well enough to take it out before it flew off, or a UAV launched a retaliatory strike against the AA cannon.

Either way, with long endurance UAV's already in development and/or testing, this airship seems like a publicity stunt and general waste of money. I wonder how much of the funding was from the US government.


RE: Ummm...
By AnnihilatorX on 9/25/2009 9:09:47 AM , Rating: 2
It's heat signature is likely to be low for missile locking because of the giant blob of gas and lack of jet engine. It'd be far more effective to fire guns into it given such a huge target.


RE: Ummm...
By Curelom on 9/25/2009 11:05:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure it has some self sealing capability to handle gun fire.


RE: Ummm...
By AnnihilatorX on 9/25/2009 3:34:02 PM , Rating: 2
We do not yet have mature technology for self healing armor yet. Some are in very early research state though.


RE: Ummm...
By sinful on 9/25/2009 8:09:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
We do not yet have mature technology for self healing armor yet. Some are in very early research state though.


I'm not so sure about that, it seems like the concept for a blimp would be remarkably easy.

"If compartment loses air pressure, spray sealant into compartment".

Seems like such a simple system could patch most of the small damage it receives. And it's not like a bunch of bullets are going to bring this down fast, anyway. I would imagine it could sustain a LOT of small weapons fire before being impacted, at which point they'd go "Ok, well time to go back to base!" (Of course, the enemy's position would be relayed to a squadron of bombers long before that happened).

The only thing that could inflict damage on it quickly would be some AAA or missiles.

At which point I think it could contain some decent countermeasures for those, if not spot them LONG before they had a chance to attack.

Sort of like saying "A destroyer could OWN an Aircraft carrier!" True, but that destroyer isn't going to get anywhere close to the aircraft carrier.

I'd doubt a blimp designed to spot the enemy is going to let some heavy AAA sneak up on it.


RE: Ummm...
By AnnihilatorX on 9/25/2009 8:48:06 PM , Rating: 3
How do you know where to spay sealant? A matrix fabric of sensors? The air sacs in the ship are likely to be huge and you cannot just use spary anywhere approach. Even machine gun fire from fighters create large holes, which requires viscous sealant. As such cannot be sprayed and need direct application. The sealant needs to work without oxygen, but helium or hydrogen, in low pressure.

You can make elaborate but light robotic arms to do precision repairs, given good sensor design and such. But this remain science fiction at the moment.


RE: Ummm...
By ArcliteHawaii on 9/26/2009 12:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
They probably aren't making the aircraft skin self-sealing. That adds a lot of weight. They are probably relying on the fact that a half inch hole from a .50 cal takes a year to deflate a 250' blimp. Also, this looks like a rigid airship, so it has an internal frame which counter balances the external air pressure. It's not like popping a balloon.


RE: Ummm...
By jimhsu on 9/29/2009 9:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's more like the difference in air pressure between the inside and outside is so small that small arms fire and even a few missiles isn't enough to make any difference. Picture poking a water balloon underwater, for instance.


RE: Ummm...
By Black69ta on 9/29/2009 1:47:38 AM , Rating: 2
Jets have have had self healing Fuel tanks for Decades now. an example is the F-14 Tomcat.


RE: Ummm...
By Manch on 9/26/2009 1:06:22 AM , Rating: 2
LMFAO, yeah I'm sure they have a gigantic can of fix-a-flat in there just in case.


RE: Ummm...
By Amiga500 on 9/25/2009 9:11:53 AM , Rating: 1
Where are the Taliban gonna get a MiG-15 from?

Where are the Taliban going to get the parts to fix it?

Where are the Taliban going to get the mechanics with sufficient expertise to fix it?

Where are the Taliban going to find a runway to keep it securely?

Low tech missile? What is wrong with old fashioned Cannon?


RE: Ummm...
By AstroGuardian on 9/25/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ummm...
By AEvangel on 9/25/2009 10:04:26 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Hmm.. they kinda did. And did a lot more than that. I was watching people smash on the pavement in front of me. How did the Taliban do that?


Yo, Einstein the Taliban never did do that. That was supposedly Osama Bin Laden/Al Qaeda and over 90 percent of the supposed hijackers were from another country entirely. If your going to post something at least now WTF your talking about.


RE: Ummm...
By jonup on 9/25/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ummm...
By TOAOCyrus on 9/25/2009 12:32:43 PM , Rating: 5
They werent involved in the planning and execution but gave sanctuary and support to those who did.


RE: Ummm...
By jRaskell on 9/25/2009 1:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
They took down a large stationary civilian structure. A WORLD of difference from a mobile military platform.


RE: Ummm...
By fic2 on 9/25/2009 12:13:35 PM , Rating: 2
You kind of forgot the pilots to fly such aircraft...


RE: Ummm...
By Amiga500 on 9/25/2009 3:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
It would be relatively easy to find a pilot compared to the rest.


RE: Ummm...
By DoctorEckener on 9/25/2009 10:04:14 AM , Rating: 5
this is a spinoff of a design from an EU firm. In tests by that company a scaled model of about 40ft. was subjected to 500 rounds of small arms fire, 100 rounds from a .50 caliber machine gun, and a MANPAD (shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile) from point blank range. After all this the aircraft was still 'flyable' for 3 hours before it reached a level where it would have been forced to land. Yes, airships are not built like an A-10, but they aren't as fragile as most people would believe.


RE: Ummm...
By jimhsu on 9/25/2009 12:36:50 PM , Rating: 2
Article from airships in WWI in wikipedia:

The Zeppelins were initially immune to attack by aircraft and antiaircraft guns: as the pressure in their envelopes was only just higher than ambient, holes had little effect. But once incendiary bullets were developed and used against them, their flammable hydrogen lifting gas made them vulnerable at lower altitudes. Several were shot down in flames by British defenders, and others crashed en route. They then started flying higher and higher above the range of other aircraft, but this made their bombing accuracy and success even worse.

So no, if they don't use hydrogen, airships are not exactly trivial to kill.


RE: Ummm...
By jimhsu on 9/25/2009 12:42:16 PM , Rating: 4
RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/25/2009 2:18:26 PM , Rating: 3
Depends on what you mean by trivial.

Do I think the Taliban are going to be taking these airships down right and left? No.

Do I think taking one of these blimps (if it were for some reason exposed to hostile forces) down presents a huge technical challenge? No.

A blimp doesn't give the same targeting challenges as an aircraft. Blimps are neither fast nor particularly agile.

So the question becomes durability. I have no doubt that small arms fire would be useless against such craft. On the other hand, something along the lines of the old M1 90mm AA cannon?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/90_mm_Gun_M1/M2/M3#AA...

A 23 pound shell with a proximity fuse can do a fair bit of damage... If you have no ability to return fire and you can only run away at a snails pace, well...


RE: Ummm...
By ironargonaut on 9/26/2009 2:45:07 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
A 23 pound shell with a proximity fuse can do a fair bit of damage... If you have no ability to return fire and you can only run away at a snails pace, well...


One vulcan can shout all the incoming rounds down. End of story.


RE: Ummm...
By Steve1981 on 9/26/2009 9:54:14 AM , Rating: 3
See my above post for why it probably isn't that simple.

Besides, how is shouting at incoming fire going to help anything???


RE: Ummm...
By MrPoletski on 9/28/2009 10:37:13 AM , Rating: 2
It helped Kirk Dag Nammit..

KHHAAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!!


RE: Ummm...
By jimhsu on 9/29/2009 9:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
A bit of a problem lobbing huge projectiles up in the air - you can't shoot it as far.

From the same article:

Maximum horizontal 17,823 m
Maximum slant
Ceiling 10,380 m

Either use a missile that can go that far (the Taliban probably don't have one) or use light AA (which isn't likely to have an effect). Thus, non-trivial for your ordinary, not that well-funded terrorist group.


RE: Ummm...
By jimhsu on 9/29/2009 9:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
Now this ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/120_mm_M1_gun ) WOULD work, but I highly doubt Taliban have access to this considering that they were never even fired.


RE: Ummm...
By MrPoletski on 9/28/2009 4:52:16 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
In tests by that company a scaled model of about 40ft. was subjected to 500 rounds of small arms fire, 100 rounds from a .50 caliber machine gun, and a MANPAD (shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile) from point blank range.


What dumbass fires a shoulder launched missile at point blank range?!?! :)


RE: Ummm...
By Jeffk464 on 9/25/2009 12:03:17 PM , Rating: 3
true, but taking off in a mig under US aircap is suicide.


RE: Ummm...
By arrowspark on 9/25/2009 1:10:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think the use case for this blimp is Battlefield surveillance where air supremacy has already been established and aircraft can fly unchallenged by air or ground threats. So there most likely won't be any Migs flying anywhere close enough to attack it. Larger SAM launchers are typically among the first targets to be taken out when establishing air supremacy as well so it won't have to worry about those either. It's cruising altitude is also high enough to be safe from AAA or portable, shoulder mounted missile launchers.


RE: Ummm...
By ZachDontScare on 9/25/2009 4:58:49 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
As far as I can see all it would take is a single low-tech AA missile fired from a Mig 15...

Probably not. Airships arent inflated like party balloons. They dont 'pop' when pierced. Poke a hole in it, and at the rate the helium seeps out, it might have to land in a couple of days to get patched up.


RE: Ummm...
By Manch on 9/26/2009 12:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
A B-52, AWACS, RC-135's, etc life span aint much better against a Mig. That's why we have air superiority fighters. F-15's, 18 variants, and 22's.


RE: Ummm...
By elgueroloco on 9/26/2009 7:03:00 AM , Rating: 2
You guys are all missing something. This thing is more than large enough to mount a Phalanx on it. You could have one on top of the ship and one on the bottom, and you'd have a hell of a time hitting it with a missile. Add flares to that, and radar decoys, and I doubt any missile could hit it.

As for AAA, the Phalanx might be able to take out the shells before they hit the ship. Also, if anti-artillery radar is included in the sensor package, it could pinpoint the location of the gun and use the phalanx to spray lead down all over the gun and its operators.

This thing is also more than large enough to mount a rack of AIM-54 Phoenix missiles, some HARM's, and Hellfires as well. This thing could be a very nasty, dangerous target if properly equipped.


RE: Ummm...
By MrPoletski on 9/28/2009 4:53:45 AM , Rating: 2
All nice ideas, but airships have stringent weight restrictions.


RE: Ummm...
By borowki2 on 9/28/2009 7:46:36 AM , Rating: 2
That'd still leave it vulnerable to attack by trained dolphins.


RE: Ummm...
By TennesseeTony on 9/28/2009 8:00:49 AM , Rating: 2
The Phalanx doesn't spray lead, it sprays depleted uranium. :)


Its just a stepping stone folks...
By Amiga500 on 9/25/2009 9:17:52 AM , Rating: 3
In the not so distant future, expect ground controlled intercept (GCI) radar to be replaced with floating behemoths about 60-80,000 feet up. Effectively a stationary/slow moving AWACs - but better than either due to improved horizon limits. Also expect blimps like this to be outfitted with small solid state DEWs as defence against incoming A2A missiles.

In the longer term future, expect those same behemoths to house mirrors for directing ground based laser stations to defend entire borders from incoming cruise missiles/aircraft.

There is also talk of repeater stations (blimps) being used to target the beams of several ground based lasers onto one target. Which makes defence from incoming ICBMs a potential possibility.




RE: Its just a stepping stone folks...
By Bateluer on 9/25/2009 9:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
They'll build giant floating/flying carriers, not unlike the Valiant from Doctor Who.

The P791 seems kinda lame though. An air to air missile from any fighter, bomber, or multirole craft is going to deal serious damage if not take it out entirely.


RE: Its just a stepping stone folks...
By MrBlastman on 9/25/2009 10:37:33 AM , Rating: 2
You need to be able to fly up to get to it first... Last time I checked, we could have F-16's, F-15's and F-22's patrolling the skies of Afghanistan. On top of that, we, along with the British, have crack teams of Apaches that are ready to mow down anyone silly enough to try and run out onto a runway and try to take off.

I don't see the Taliban capable of hiding an airbase from us and keeping it safe.


RE: Its just a stepping stone folks...
By Kefner on 9/25/2009 11:02:20 AM , Rating: 5
Maybe the Taliban are like X-Men, and have a hidden jet that will come out from under a basketball court and blow it out of the sky. Oh wait, they would have blown up the basketball court for being a place of infidel sport, so maybe it's just hidden under a poppy field!


By MrBlastman on 9/25/2009 11:09:58 AM , Rating: 4
Actually their turbans give them hidden Muslim powers! Underneath every turban is a gravity well which allows them to repel the forces of earth and soar high up into the blue yonder. Ever wonder why their beards are so long? Silly, it is simple! It is because they fly around so much that it stretches out their moustaches!


RE: Its just a stepping stone folks...
By bruce24 on 9/25/2009 10:27:46 AM , Rating: 3
Here are some details on the High Altitude Airship from the Lockeed Martin website.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/products/HighAltitud...

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/ms2/High...


By juan501 on 9/25/2009 4:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
Completely different aircraft. There is a world of difference between flying at 20,000ft and 60,000+ft.

Even so, this would have the same survivability issues; namely one missile could bring it down. This would necessitate utilizing radar transparent materials for the skin (which they've been working on for blimps).


By strikeback03 on 9/25/2009 10:30:55 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking this really has to be up over 60000 feet to be useful. At 20000 isn't high enough to be able to see all that far, and as pointed out is in range of all manner of ground-based weapons. At least above airliner altitude you would need an aircraft capable of launching real missiles to chase it, and you could keep it farther back over friendly territory to better protect it from such attacks.


Better for leisurely passenger trips
By Bateluer on 9/25/2009 9:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
Instead of taking a cruise on a boat, now you can take a cruise on an air ship.

For military use, its a joke.




By kattanna on 9/25/2009 9:59:37 AM , Rating: 2
thats what i was thinking too. it would have to be a whole lot bigger.. but imagine being able to take a week long trip in one as it cruises a scenic coastline or such.


RE: Better for leisurely passenger trips
By mcnabney on 9/25/2009 10:22:16 AM , Rating: 5
You must be right, because I can't possibly see a military benefit to having an observation post that can survey and track everything within a 1000 square miles that can stay on station for three weeks. Nope, that would be useless.


RE: Better for leisurely passenger trips
By Bateluer on 9/25/2009 11:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
Satellites already serve this purpose, with time measured in years rather than weeks and are much more difficult to take down.


By JediJeb on 9/25/2009 11:58:26 AM , Rating: 3
True, but this could fly below heavy cloud cover that would block visual cameras on a spy satellite. Imagine if they use the camera from a spy satellite on this, being 100 miles closer to the target would give a tremendous boost in the resolution.


By fic2 on 9/25/2009 12:20:26 PM , Rating: 3
I would like to see something like this developed for forest fires. It would depend on the payload capacity and how fast it could get from lake to fire and how low it could go to drop said payload of water/fire suppressant but I think the accuracy of the drop would be a tremendous benefit.


RE: Better for leisurely passenger trips
By JediJeb on 9/25/2009 12:18:39 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't it about a year ago something like this was being looked into for heavy lifting operations along the lines of logging? For passenger service I still don't know why these haven't been looked at, the reduction in fuel consumption has to be a lot, since most of the lift is taken up by the balast, it would require less power to move it forward. It would be a little slower than current jets, but could lead to cheaper and safer travel overall.


By fic2 on 9/25/2009 1:30:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
little slower than current jets

Maybe a little slower than current trains... Probably about the same speed as a cruise ship, but without the fun between ports.


Hot Dog Deluxe
By AnnihilatorX on 9/25/2009 9:12:57 AM , Rating: 2
The ship should be codenamed
"Hot Dog Deluxe"
Extra saucy




RE: Hot Dog Deluxe
By Pythias on 9/25/2009 11:30:30 AM , Rating: 3
..or the Hindentanic.


RE: Hot Dog Deluxe
By Omega215D on 9/25/2009 12:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
It's a flying toomah....


RE: Hot Dog Deluxe
By Spookster on 9/25/2009 6:32:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
by Omega215D on September 25, 2009 at 12:45 PM

It's a flying toomah....


In the words of Arnold Schwarzeneggar "It's not a toomah".


Survey battlefields?
By aguilpa1 on 9/25/2009 9:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
what battlefields?
this thing is huge and slow, there are ground to air missiles you know.

This is a poor excuse to develop some other military platform with taxpayer money we are not privy to.




RE: Survey battlefields?
By mcnabney on 9/25/2009 10:28:05 AM , Rating: 2
MADPADs don't reach that high. They are also IR, which would likely lock onto the sun instead of this cold gas-bag.
Also, since anything in range would be 'seen' by this airship I imagine that we could take action against anything threatening.


RE: Survey battlefields?
By Omega215D on 9/25/2009 12:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
There was a time when my heat seeking missile would lock on to my cold gas-bag of a wife but now not so much...


RE: Survey battlefields?
By drew494949 on 9/27/2009 4:30:53 AM , Rating: 2
Companies do this a lot, they splatter money on different projects to test out theories to see what sticks. i.e. Some guy gets "excited" over dirigibles and wants cool posters for his office.

If new tech comes out of this research, cool, but this would never go to production, but could be used in civilian ways, like long-term atmospheric research, or really awesome multi-millionaire week-long parties for a true, sustained, "mile-high" club.


Its a hopless situation
By crystal clear on 9/25/2009 12:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The outlandish airship will see test deployment to the battlefield in Afghanistan two years from now.


That ...if two years from now the US forces will still be in Afghanistan.

I doubt very much the way the war is going with the commander of the US forces openly declaring of the possibility of loosing the war, if more forces are not sent to the region.

The USSR failed & withdrew humilated & demorilized from Afghansitan,now its the turn of the USA.

The Taliban has almost taken control of Pakistan & Pakistan has been openly declared as a failed state.

God forbid if those nuclear weapons/technology that Pakistan has falls into the hands of the Taliban.

Afghanistan will turn out to be the next Vietnam for the USA.

Its a hopless situation.............




RE: Its a hopless situation
By AEvangel on 9/25/2009 4:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
/agree

Also keep in mind the billions we gave to Pakistan are now going to be used to fund the next class of fanatic terrorist who hate us cause were over there and refuse to leave.


RE: Its a hopless situation
By crystal clear on 9/26/2009 3:27:00 AM , Rating: 2
Experience of over a decade & more, has shown that Afghanistan & Pakistan have failed & most important are incapable, in their efforts to be independent/responsible countries.

These countries are like bankcrupt companies that have gone into liquidation.

This calls for some extreme radical measures of restructoring in the region by the U.N.

These countries should cease to exist & their terrtories being handedover to countries in the region,bordering Pakistan & Afghansitan.

Example- Pakistan be merged into India.

Pakistan never ever existed historically - it was the creation of the British who ruled the region in past & created it before granting independence to India.

Afghanistan to be split & countries in the region to take over them.

Sounds radical, but a totally new approach that will work.


I have an idea
By Indianapolis on 9/26/2009 9:02:18 AM , Rating: 4
Maybe they could inflate it with some of President Obama's ego.




RE: I have an idea
By MrPoletski on 9/28/2009 4:49:32 AM , Rating: 2
even then, even if they fitted the best weapons system on it they have....

It'd still be no match for... AIRWOLF!!

duu-dudda-dee-duh-dudda-dee-duh-dudda-dee-duh-duh -duh-dee-dudda.....


Looks like bait to me.
By CurtOien on 9/25/2009 9:51:04 AM , Rating: 2
Put out the bait. Wait for the rats to show up. Follow them back to their nest. Exterminate them.




RE: Looks like bait to me.
By Omega215D on 9/25/2009 12:44:23 PM , Rating: 3
Or they'll just stand there in awe going "WTF" or in Metal Gear's case a giant exclamation mark on top of their heads and a jet will come out of nowhere and nuke 'em.


Hello...
By bradmshannon on 9/25/2009 8:49:37 AM , Rating: 3
Why hello there sitting duck!




She was weaponized???
By Bender 123 on 9/25/2009 8:58:31 AM , Rating: 1
BAD JOKE TIME!!!!

What a nice use of Oprah. That bottom pic really shows how she let herself go over the past few years. Its amazing that scientists can get her to airborne, much less in a military role. I hear this has emboldened Lockheed to try a similar thing with Rosie ODonnell, but they are having difficulty keeping her from leaking hot air.

Your Momma so fat, Lockheed turned her into a P791!!!




RE: She was weaponized???
By R3T4rd on 9/25/2009 9:24:13 AM , Rating: 2
As long as when that thing explodes, it spews infected goo onto the enemies...then we wouldn't have to worry about taking the enemies out. Then infected horde will come rushing in.

Or dropping a bunch of Rosie O'donnell filled with infected goo works the same as well. I can see this:

Taliban: Oh mee gosh! eets Rosie Old Donnell!! Shoot her!!
Infected Rosie: Blarp, blarp, BLAAAARRRP!!!
*Taliban shoots*....POOOFFF..infected GOOO splatters them.
*Horde Music*.....
Taliban: Dammn you Americons and Rosie Old Donnell!!!


Vulnerable != useless
By nafhan on 9/25/2009 1:38:25 PM , Rating: 1
Just like to point out a couple of combat aircraft that the US uses right now would also be vulnerable in many of the situations people are discussing.
AC-130 is based on the C-130, and is used as a ground attack aircraft.
B-52 - It would be difficult to design an aircraft of comparable size with as large a radar signature as the B-52, but the Air Force plans on using it until 2050.
Of course, I'm not including any support aircraft such as transports, radar, refueling, etc.




RE: Vulnerable != useless
By stmok on 9/25/2009 6:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
AC-130 is a flying artillery platform.
B-52 has a standoff weapons capability.

This blimp-type aircraft is basically a solution that sits right between UAVs and Satellites.

Current UAVs don't have the endurance.
Satellites cost money to put up into space.


Intelligent?
By Spookster on 9/25/2009 6:25:59 PM , Rating: 3
Nothing says shoot me like a giant slow moving blimp floating around the battlefield.




I'll show my age.....
By tmouse on 9/25/2009 9:06:13 AM , Rating: 2
I can see the afganeese now ....

It IS BALLOON !

For the younger set its an old bit from a 60's show called F-Troop




help
By yacoub on 9/25/09, Rating: 0
RE: help
By yacoub on 9/25/2009 9:22:32 AM , Rating: 2
oh nm, i see the 20,000ft now. nm.


Different ship?
By Etern205 on 9/25/2009 10:04:25 AM , Rating: 2
Remember read on MSN yesterday about airships for war and it said it's called a high-altitude airship since it will be high above the jet stream. It's use is for observing weather, surveillance and other tasks.

Don't know if this is the same as that and the other artist's rendering show the airship with solar panels.




Blimp Facts
By Mitch101 on 9/25/2009 10:32:02 AM , Rating: 2
First an Image of the Old GoodYear blimp.
http://www.godblessamericana.com/images/slide-of-t...

My Father was a Camera Man for ABC TV and did a lot of the Wide World of Sports. He wasn't the guy who recorded the crashing skier everyone remembers from the famous intro but he was the camera man who did most of the aerial shots from the blimp on Monday Night Football. He also did a lot of shots positioned on a platform they would rig on a crane like above the coliseum in LA for and Lake Placid's Olympic games. He spent a lot of time with the crew of GoodYear. As a kid he took me up in the blimp when we were in Texas. This was where one of the GoodYear blimps was kept. My father spent a lot of time in the Blimp over sporting events.

Keep in mind you get in the blimp from a select location. The blimp at the tip is connected to a pole in a field and rotates around that pole 360 degrees based on wind. it only has one wheel at the base you cant land it just anywhere.

Fly to your destination which I dont recall how fast the blimp was but it its not a plane thats for sure.

Then circle around the sporting event say a football game for several hours. A good 3 hours.

Then have to fly back to a select location which can accommodate the blimp.

Now look at the picture of the Goodyear Blimp Gondola.
Goodyear Blimp Gondola
http://www.airbum.com/pireps/BlimpGondolaWEB.jpg

Now for your fact:
No Bathroom. They had a bucket and when the bucket was full you can use your imagination. My father has stories of filling the bucket with water and flying into the stadium and dumping the water on announcers pre game. Having them know because they are all mic'd in there was no bathroom in the Good Year blimps.




for some reason
By TMV192 on 9/25/2009 10:39:17 AM , Rating: 2
this makes me want to play Battlefield 2142




There is no point in this...
By Motoman on 9/25/2009 10:46:16 AM , Rating: 2
...unless it gets called the HeliCarrier and is commanded by Nick Fury.




recon advantage
By tigerspot on 9/25/2009 11:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
The real benefit of this kind of blimp is massive-scale recon.

Due to their fuel use, speed, and limited size, a UAV can't monitor a huge space continuously at high-resolution for a long time. Ditto for traditional flyover spyplanes....they are good for instant-in-time photos, but not for continuous monitoring.

I bet this blimp will take continuous video, with resolution down to specific human movement, over a 50 sq mile area (give or take), for several weeks straight. Fighting a dispersed mobile gang in rugged terrain, this is great capability. Right now we can drop a bomb anywhere in Afghanistan with pinpoint precision.....but don't know where to do drop it 'cause we can't track the bad guys 24/7.

Good for catching Mullah Omar when he finally comes out of the cave to pee....




huge UAV?
By Murloc on 9/25/2009 11:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
it's just a big UAV, because against a normal enemy it's easy to get it destroyed in no time.
talibans under it would have to hide since they can't destroy it.




typo?
By Mojo the Monkey on 9/25/2009 1:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The aircraft carriers its instruments and sensors in a 40-foot long


should be "carries" not "carriers"




"Huge", "Massive" airship?
By 91TTZ on 9/25/2009 2:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a huge or massive airship. This would be one of the smaller airships that have been launched.

For comparison:

This airship, 2009: 250 ft.
Zeppelin LZ1, 1900: 420 ft.
R33 Airship, 1916: 643 ft.
R38 airship, 1921: 695 ft.
USS Akron, 1928: 785 ft.
Hindenburg, 1936: 803 ft.




Where's the guns and runways
By omgwtf8888 on 9/25/2009 4:49:21 PM , Rating: 2
C'mon I want to see this thing become the new aircraft carrier of the sky! The Airforce's floating battlegroup... have aircraft toting ones and missile toting ones.. go anywhere and not have to worry about sailing there...




Even better uses
By elgueroloco on 9/26/2009 7:21:18 AM , Rating: 2
Better than sending this thing to Afghanistan, the Border Patrol and DEA should team up and operate one of these along our border. If you teamed one of these up with a couple of Osprey aircraft full of agents, you could protect 600 miles of border with little manpower.

When the LEMV spots smugglers/border jumpers, they can either notify local police or ICE agents of their locations, or send an osprey full of agents after them.

2 of these ships could cover our entire border with Mexico, or just use one to cover the area where they built that ineffective fence.

These could also be very handy for the Coast Guard.




Even better uses
By elgueroloco on 9/26/2009 7:27:44 AM , Rating: 2
Better than sending this thing to Afghanistan, the Border Patrol and DEA should team up and operate one of these along our border. If you teamed one of these up with a couple of Osprey aircraft full of agents, you could protect 600 miles of border with little manpower.

When the LEMV spots smugglers/border jumpers, they can either notify local police or ICE agents of their locations, or send an osprey full of agents after them.

2 of these ships could cover our entire border with Mexico, or just use one to cover the area where they built that ineffective fence.

These could also be very handy for the Coast Guard.




idea...
By vazili on 9/26/2009 12:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
This thing will have CM. Not only that, but most likely some form of escorts. Talibs or Al-Qaeda fire at it w/ AA guns or Stingers, they are toast.




Great...
By BailoutBenny on 9/26/2009 2:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
Nazi style zepplins to go with our fascist government.




By TennesseeTony on 9/28/2009 8:08:46 AM , Rating: 2
You've all covered pretty well the ups and downs of this airship, where it makes sense to use it, where it doesn't.

I'm more interested in the prediction that Afghanistan is still going to be a battlefield in mid 2011.

I'm no fan of Yo'Mama, but I thought the new Messiah proclaimed an end to violence?




By nofumble62 on 9/30/2009 12:53:51 AM , Rating: 2
Betcha




By nofumble62 on 9/30/2009 12:57:27 AM , Rating: 2
then cut the cord




Air Ship
By slybob on 10/2/2009 3:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
You sound like a bunch of psuedo defense expert wanna-a-bees. Whether or not the project accomplishes its objectives or not (and like any of you civilians would have a clue what that is), any weaknesses or limitations this system might have would have been thoroughly vetted during the concept, development, construction, and prototype flight testing phase. To say nothing about the same for the eventual "operational" craft. You also don't have any idea what other support systems, weaponry, countermeasures, etc. it would have as platform resources.




Airship
By viperphyler on 10/19/2009 6:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
Any high endurance airship will have to operate above 40,000ft.
for environmental reasons: 1. Icing will quickly bring down any balloon at 20,000 ft. 2. The jet stream at lower altitudes could blow the airship into Pakistan in 30 minutes. 3. The previously mentioned vulnerability to sling shots and arrows. 4. The deep valleys of Afghanistan will require will require high altitude operation to provide the proper look-down angle for adequate surveillance. 5. 20,000ft is in the middle of very high use airspace.




By T2k on 9/28/2009 1:50:02 PM , Rating: 1
Jesus FC, did ANYONE EVER FUCK!N TOOKA HISTORY CLASS from the Pentagon???

This POS CANNOT EVEN FLOAT WITHOUT engines, something that Zeppelins or any ballon could do...




Talibans
By fredthelight on 9/25/09, Rating: -1
RE: Talibans
By mcnabney on 9/25/2009 10:32:01 AM , Rating: 5
Well, I am going to guess that your 'old' country has done a pretty lousy job so far. What, you don't think that Europe's actions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East havn't contributed to all of the world's current problems?


RE: Talibans
By fredthelight on 9/26/2009 2:11:25 AM , Rating: 1
Well, I think, just like you, that old Europe, and just like young America, is responsible for most of the sh*t that's happening in the world now..and why all this?

Because we, in europe, get rid off "classic" religions just to put another one that is as bad, money.
And greed that comes with it.

And don't forget where the financial crisis we are facing now is coming from.

We, Western people, are responsible for many great things/discovery in the world, but are even more responsible for the all the sh*t that's happening too.

Think about it before replying..., ho and by the way, I am as sad as you to know about all these casualties in this war...but think about who is responsible for it in the first place...as I said before, always clean your house first before going to others..

And by the way, I think this ship is and look great, and it was stupid in the first place to talk about how easy it would be for talibans to shoot it down..it's never meant to be a target to them and the people who created it thought about how to use it long time ago.

To conclude, I love America for all the good things it brought to the world (list too long to give ex.), too bad it did not learn from the mistakes of others..


RE: Talibans
By ZachDontScare on 9/25/2009 4:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
Thats really kind of dumb of you. The US could wipe out the taliban overnight. It just cant do so without wiping out the non-taliban population too. The US is taking casualties and facing all these problems precisely because it doesnt want kill millions of innocents. If it was just about killing as many people as they could, the US could have just nuked the crap out of afghanistan.


RE: Talibans
By T2k on 9/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Talibans
By Indianapolis on 9/26/2009 9:28:34 AM , Rating: 1
You're right, those taliban fighters are just too brave and clever for us Americans. They make us look silly the way they use innocents and children as shields. Why didn't we ever think of that???


RE: Talibans
By Screensaver on 9/26/2009 6:50:02 PM , Rating: 2
I found this article and subsequent comments so interesting that I created an account just to add one comment, so be nice.....

Since UAV's have been mentioned, I have to ask if it wouldn't be possible for the bad guys to field their own UAV and simply crash onto the top of the blimp? Any blast might create a hole and any remaining fuel could possibly coat the blimp fabric and burn an even larger opening. This could....we will probably never know for sure....create a hole large enough to bring the airship down rapidly.

While I don't think this will happen, I think this would be simpler and cheaper than some, if not most of the other suggestions.

I do realize that getting a UAV up to 20,000 feet is no small feat, but it could probably be done with using a wooden airframe and two-stroke engine....

Just sayin....

Screensaver


RE: Talibans
By mdbusa on 9/27/2009 10:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think ure better off closing your account


RE: Talibans
By TennesseeTony on 9/28/2009 8:04:37 AM , Rating: 2
Lol. I second the motion, all in favor?


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