Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lighter Than Air

I saw an EMail that talked to the US Army asking to reprogram some funds (a couple of million here and there) to begin a program to acquire an airship to provide long term persistent surveillance in places like Afghanistan. This is to jump start the FY2010 Budget, which includes big money for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs.
This total includes an $80 million investment in the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), an unmanned hybrid airship that will fill a critical gap in CENTCOM’s long-term airborne surveillance capacity.
Basically, the Department of Defense Comptroller, Mr Robert Hale, sent the four key Congressional Committees a proposal to shift some $3.8 billion within the FY 2009 budget to meet higher priority needs.  Amongst those was a proposal for the Army to set up a "rapid-acquisition" program to field a hybrid airship—a Long Endurance Multi-INT hybrid air vehicle (LEMV).  One assumes "Multi-INT" means multiple types of sensors. In a place like Afghanistan this would be a big step forward in surveillance capability.

Here is one option, complete with a one minute video of the Lockheed version in flight.

Not that it would be might first choice for logging flight time, but it might be interesting for a while.  Landing it seems to be a bit of a challenge.

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

The New Englander said...

Cliff,

Thanks for mentioning this program. I wonder if the drawdown in Iraq will help in the meantime because ISR assets will be shifted over to support OEF. One would think..

..either way, it seems one thing that can be pretty strongly agreed on by almost anyone who's used them is that UAVs are worth their weight in gold for route recon and persistent ISR..

best,
gp