Skip to comments.U.S. Army Orders Huge Airship to Aid Combat Missions
Posted on 06/16/2010 7:54:07 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
The United States Army has ordered a huge hybrid airship longer than a football field to watch over battlefields in Afghanistan by the end of 2011, according to the airship's builder Northrop Grumman Corporation.
The company has received a $517 million Army contract to build up to three of the huge military airships, called the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicles (LEMV). Such airships would serve as surveillance stations at 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) above sea level and could stay on watch for as long as three weeks at a time.
A LEMV would also have the capability to carry a 2,500-pound (1,113 kg) payload, and still zip along at 92 mph (148 kph) if necessary. The 302-foot (92-meter) airship would typically have a cruising speed of just 34 mph (54.7 kph).
That represents a staying power for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance over a longer period of time than what today's robotic drones such as the Predator or Reaper can provide. [7 sci-fi weapons today.]
"Our offering supports the Army's Joint Military Utility Assessment that this disruptive innovation must meet the Army's objective of a persistent unblinking stare while providing increased operational utility to battlefield commanders," said Alan Metzger, Northrop Grumman LEMV program manager.
A heavy-lift configuration could transform the LEMV into a sky transport that carries up to 15,000 pounds (6,803 kg).
The U.S. Army has also conducted military airship field trials for a tethered balloon that would carry radar to help weapon systems track and shoot down cruise missiles.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
it’s all about air-superiority ... hence ... build more raptors ...
My father and uncle were airship pilots in the early 1960s. They’re some of the youngest (in their mid-70s) members of the Navy’s “Lighter Than Air Association.” I’ll send them this information; they’ll get a chuckle out of it.
I remember when we were confident the U-2 could not be shot down .
20,000 feet .. ain’t much of a reach.
Nice fat target for a SAM.
However, Achmed and his trusty Shilka quad mount shouldn't have too much trouble hitting it. Not to mention the old COMBLOC 37MM and 57MM AA mounts that litter Afghanistan ... or soon would.
Indeed, consider this statement...
Such airships would serve as surveillance stations at 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) above sea level and could stay on watch for as long as three weeks at a time.
Then, realize that much of Afghanistan lies in the range of 8-12,000 feet above sea level. That leaves 8-12,000 feet of air under the airship.
As I recall, the max. vertical range of a Stinger is around 12,000 ft. I imagine the LEMV won't have much of an infra-red signature, but the margin-for-error doesn't amount to much.
Considering that our guys are working in the mountains at 10-15,000’ it would seem that these would be in easy range of a SAM or even a MANPAD.
$170 million apiece!!! Will it ever be worth it?
Isn’t surveillance and reconnaissance the reason for military satellites?
I also think the working altitude of these craft is much too low. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the Afghans can shoot ‘em down.
Looks like bad implants .... But it will do the lookdown just fine.
They better be good shots. I’d be hanging a couple racks of HellFires onboard to shoot back.
What for - to drop on our troops should they point a gun at the Taliban?
Skunk Works P-791
In 1862 or 1863, the first time. JFC, it's been 150 years. Barrage balloons work. Observation balloons work, although you don't have to know morse code anymore.
They work. Quit with the studies.
Occasionally, someone on the NAS Tower frequency will say "**** 1, cleared direct to one two thousand feet." Or one five thousand feet.
a)They aren't 737s. b)They are dots or less at 15,000 ft.
I go outside to watch and listen.
Sounds like freedom.
Time to climb is amazing.
They call that the “B.F.T.”?
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