So the U.S. Army is getting into the blimp business, at least according to a article posted on Wired.com.
US Army forked over $517 million to Northrop Grumman to develope the experimential airship known officially as Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicles. If successful, the blimp will have a airborne endurance of up to three weeks at a time. And it will carry lots and losts of sensors, to capture still and video images of civilians and our nation's adversaries.
Lifted up into the air by helium and propulsion will be provided by four diesel engines. One US Army official said that in Afghanistan, it would take 12 Reaper drones to duplicated the blimp's functions.
So far, the blimp has passed three tests that judge the feasibility of the airship design. Northrop Grumman stated that it will inflate the first blimp in the spring-summer of 2011. And flight testing to be completed by the end of 2010.
For more information, check out the article. The link is below.
Ref. Wired.com. "Northrop’s Huge Army Spy Blimp Floats On" by Spencer Ackerman. November 4, 2010. (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/11/northrops-huge-army-spy-blimp-floats-on/).
image comes from same article,provided by Northrop Grumman.