Jun 242010
 

Hybrid Airship

Not so long ago it seemed that the golden age of giant lumbering airships had gone down with the Hindenberg, consigned to less spectacular roles in research, advertising and as a great camera platform above sporting events… but they’re making a comeback. Lighter-than-air aircraft are returning to passenger carrying roles in tourism and in recent years we’ve seen a new-generation of airships put forward as a cargo-lifting solution (DARPA’s now seemingly shelved Walrus Project) and even as a corporate air yacht (Aeroscraft ML866). Now the U.S. Army is moving quickly to build a hybrid airship weapons system that will act as a long-duration UAV – a very big, long duration UAV. The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) will be longer than a football field and stay aloft at altitudes of 20,000 feet for more than three weeks at a time providing an “unblinking eye” for surveillance and reconnaissance.

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