US Army LEMV Hybrid Airship
New spy blimp set to patrol the skies of Afghanistan by the year 2011...
U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command is planning to deploy an autonomous, free-flying, surveillance ‘blimp’ over the skies of Afghanistan by the year 2011.
The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) will be 250 long, and will be able to float at an altitude of 20,000 feet for up to three weeks at a time. The aircraft is not technically a blimp because it is heavier than air – only 80 percent of the LEMV’s lift comes from buoyancy, the other 20 percent from from six thrusters powered by individual turbo-diesels for take-off and climb.
Although the LEMV is fully autonomous, it can also be optionally piloted. A 40 x 15 ft section behind the sometimes-manned cockpit will carry an array of of intelligence systems, like radar and wide-area motions sensors. Information will then be beamed back down in real time to commanders on the ground
A consortium led by the US Army’s Space & Missile Defense Command is scheduled to be established next month, and the consequent contract awarded by the end of December.
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works says it will supply the air vehicle, the new designs will be based on the company-funded P-791 – a 125ft-long experimental hybrid airship that flew six times during 2006 (seen in video below).
- Unavailable, please contact us for more information.