Support: August 25, 2001


The Army plans to issue a contract early next year for an unmanned dirigible that would be used for long-term surveillance. Such an airship could carry 2,000 pounds of instruments and remain within a relatively small area at 70,000 feet for six months. Some of the same technology would apply to the Army's dream of buying dirigibles to carry entire tank companies to distant wars, eliminating the problems in deploying heavy forces. The Army feels there would be serious commercial possibilities for such an aircraft (e.g., cell phone relays) and wants the contractor to share the cost of the prototype.--Stephen V Cole


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