Sunday, September 27, 2009

Secret Weapon

Lockheed just released this. The video shows a working, half sized replica of what the actual hybrid airship will look like. It will reportedly be about 250 feet long. It's not quite lighter than air and the gas bag will act as a lifting body when powered by four movable propellers at the four corners. The landing gear are the kind of ground effect skirts found on hovercraft and the air flow can supposedly be reversed, to hold the beast on the landing strip like big suction cups. It's too much like stuff in a Tom Swift novel.

They want to use these things as high altitude surveillance and drone control platforms in the Middle East wars. It will be operational unmanned and fully autonomous, staying airborne for as much as two weeks. I take this to mean that it won't even require continuous remote piloting. I wonder how that works. They haven't even started to build a real one yet. It will be at least several years before they can start testing. Can anyone say Boeing Dream liner?

I don't think this machine will ever see real service. They will be real expensive. It's going to be too unstable to operate in anything but perfect weather and anybody with 50 year old SAM technology could shoot one down.

1 comment:

Steve Harkonnen said...

I was thinking the same thoughts. It's too damned visible in the first place, and real slow too.

Heck, give me an estes model rocket with a D engine and I'd poke a hole in it.