And so ends the U.S. military’s dream of mega-blimps strapped with powerful surveillance gear. The Army confirms to Danger Room that it’s killed the last of those lighter-than-air ships.
Say goodbye to the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, or LEMV. Built by Northrop Grumman, it’s a dimpled blimp as long as a football field; seven stories high; and carries a price tag of over half a billion dollars. The plan was to use the blimp over Afghanistan, where its gondola could haul seven tons of cargo — including advanced camera gear able to see dozens of square miles of terrain with crystal-clear resolution at a single blink. It would stay 20,000 feet above the warzone for weeks at a time, something beyond the capabilities of any spy plane, manned or piloted. Trials over Afghanistan were slated for early this year.
Not anymore. A report in InsideDefense citing anonymous sources said LEMV quietly met the Army budget axe last week. The Army confirmed it, on the record, to Danger Room late on Thursday.
“Due to technical and performance challenges, and the limitations imposed by constrained resources, the Army has determined to discontinue the LEMV development effort,” Army spokesman Dov Schwartz emails.
Read more at Wired
And so ends the U.S. military’s dream of mega-blimps strapped with powerful surveillance gear.…
by Tactical-Life / Feb 14, 2013