Skip to comments.US military testing high-tech dirigibles in Utah
Posted on 04/14/2010 10:31:31 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The U.S. military has begun testing massive high-tech dirigibles designed to provide battlefield commanders with a bird's-eye view of cruise missiles or other threats in the skies over the Utah desert.
An unmanned 242-foot-long balloon was launched Wednesday morning about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City. It stayed aloft for about three hours before it was pulled back down as planned, according to Paula Nicholson, a spokeswoman for Dugway Proving Ground.
Vast tracts of military-owned desert were chosen for the testing because of their remoteness and resemblance to the mountainous, arid environment of Afghanistan, the military said in a statement.
Known as aerostats, the dirigibles are outfitted with radar and communications systems to provide long-range surveillance targeting threats from aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles.
Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Co. was awarded a $1.4 billion contract from the Army in 2007 to design, build and test the aerostats.
Several more tests are proposed for Utah later in the year, including over the remote northern portion of the Great Salt Lake and parts of the Snake Valley.
The aerostats were first flight-tested in Elizabeth City, N.C., last summer but were limited to a height of 3,000 feet. In Utah, the dirigibles are expected to fly some 10,000 feet above the U.S. Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range, where air space is restricted up to 58,000 feet, the military said. The dirigibles are tethered to processing stations on the ground, and each is capable of staying aloft for a month.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Obama wants to use even more dirigibles, both in the military and in civilian air space. He said that dirigibles cause little damage when flown into buildings, and as such, our terrorist problems would be solved.
That is one long tether . Utah is beautiful .
Hill AFB has a great museum .
I wonder how they will fare in a dogfight against Iran’s Russkie-built MiGs
The Kenyan-born marxist prefers that we have blimps instead of F-22s.
OLd tech, they have used this system for border monitoring for years.
Just outside of Serria Vista AZ on e of these has been floting around for years.
Why not use the free-flying “Delta Blimp” they have been testing in UT for years?
Yes, Utah is beautiful.
Please come visit, ski, go to the National Parks, spend your tourism dollars with abandon.
Then go home.
Oh, the inanity!
Untethered dirigibles at an altitude of 70,000 feet or so would seem like an inexpensive alternative for geosynchronous communications satellites.
A company has been planning this to provide an alternative to satellite-based broadband internet for rural areas. A single “stratellite” has line of sight to an area the size of Texas, and because of the short distance, it doesn’t have the latency problems that satellites do. Using helium for buoyancy and solar cells for power to keep it in the same spot, the idea is that it can stay aloft for a year or more between landings. Swapping in a spare to allow for service and upgrades on the ground is something not possible with satellites in geosynchronous orbit.
This has been talked about and actual prototypes built for a decade, and its disappointing there isn’t one in service yet.
“Obama wants to use even more dirigibles, both in the military and in civilian air space. “
Every couple of years this comes up. Soon after they silently end the programs. This is just a money hole that never goes away.
Hey guys, we think we can dig up the last few you have run. You can have them free! Just got the library and check out some olds Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, etc.
Once again, “when the balloon goes up” has real meaning.
When I was stationed at Mtn. Home, ID, the most beautiful part of the drive home to Michigan was the stretch of I-84 in Utah between Idaho and Ogden.
When I was there we had Aardvarks in the sagebrush...