back to article US Army's new $0.5bn British airship will fly 'mid-next summer'

The US Army's bold scheme to build a mighty optionally-crewed airship with the aid of British designers is going well, according to the ship's builders. American defence-industrial mammoth Northrop, contracted to deliver the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) ship to the US Army Space and Missile Defence Command …


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  1. blackworx
    Thumb Up


    Best comparison ever.

    But - enquiring minds would like to know - how many RSB's (Reg Standard Babbles) is that?

  2. Trygve
    Thumb Up

    You people are mental.

    Fantastic work - keep it up

  3. Anonymous Coward

    British Zeppelin?!

    I can think of 101 reasons why that's such a bad idea...

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      My old Grandad was fond of pointing out that the R101 was government built and crashed. The R100 was built by private enterprise and was fine.

  4. DI_Wyman


    .....that shouldn't be too hard to shoot down!

    1. Mr Young

      Shoot it down!

      It might take 2 shots if its a really windy day?

  5. disgruntled yank

    target practice, anyone?

    Weren't anti-aircraft weapons introduced before WW II that would shoot to this operating altitude?

    1. graeme leggett

      Yes, but nothing since VE day*

      The jet aircraft and the guided missile made the old large calibre anti-aircraft guns obsolete so unless the insurgents have an German 88 handy and some left over shells from 1945....

      *technically there were a few experiments post war eg "Green Mace" and "Red Queen"

    2. thecakeis(not)alie

      Correct me if I am wrong here...

      ...but if you are up that high you don't have to be parked directly on top of your target. That means so long as they can see both sideways and down a fair ways they might well stay out of the range of the AA fire from some of the more primitive nations? Probably not going to help you if you choose to fight a developed nation...but might well be good against insurgents.

      Also: wouldn’t this thing be useful if you parked it over an ocean? It could serve as communications relay as well as observation of an unfriendly shoreline for activity that is counter to your interests. Given time I am sure I could think of many other uses. I really like the tech behind this thing though. Imagine If you were a cellco trying to bust into a sewn up market (like say the US.) get clearance to run these buggers at altitude over the continent and *poof* instanetwork.

      Hurricane hits your shores? Lost Angles falls into the ocean? Solar flare takes out the north eastern grid /again?/ Deploy a handful of these puppies to circle for the duration of the disaster and you have a floating emergency communications network with the ability to provide realtime better-than-satellite surveillance of the disaster zone. I think Canada should buy a dozen: they would be invaluable in protecting our interests in the North. Interests that since they conflict with those of countries such as the United States we are having to become ever more vigilant about.

      Of course the British would probably just use these beauties to catch speeders.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "LEMV is longer than a football field, taller than a seven-story building" and slow moving. What could possibly go wrong? ;-)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if?

    the R101 hadn't crashed in 1930, and Britain had moved on to the R102 and then the 9,500,000 cubic foot R103 (the Hindenburg was 7,062,000).

    Think of the size of that falling down beside the Empire State Building in flames.

    1. disgruntled yank


      The Empire State Building they flew a B-25 into, but the Hinderburg burned up over in New Jersey.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I said imagine...

        The Empire State Building (and others) were envisaged with mooring towers at the top for airships to dock with.

        After all, why fly in comfort to the States only to land at a Naval Air Station miles from the city centre.

  7. Blofeld's Cat

    20,000 Feet?

    You can fly paper aeroplanes higher than that.

  8. Bluenose

    With regards to the Brigitte Nielsen measurement

    When you say heels is that 6 inch or 2 inch heels or some other height that you failed mention? Are platforms involved?

  9. Tim 7

    Re target practice

    This is a spy ship ! how many shots would you get off before being B52'ed into atoms?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    New Food For The 88mm

    Airships are sooo tasty.

    You can mount an 88 on any heavy truck, concealed as a camel transporter. And if they fsck with you, the 88 will also put a nice little hole into the armoured car which creates the trouble. At that point you should disperse into the general population and wait for another opportunity to wear down the Europeans and bastard-Europeans.

    The population will, as always, support you with food, intelligence and new ammo for your AK47.

    Ghanistan only supports the US Military Industrial Complex, when the money should be spent on American Police and Visa Officers. When it should be spent on Bus drivers and Security Personnel in American Trains.

    Because US oil consumption could drop by 90% if everybody trusted Public Transport and felt safe.

    America could save at least 100 billion Dollars per year by hiring Bus Drivers and letting US soldiers patrol US Buses and Trains instead of dying on foreign soil. America would be self-sufficient in the oil supply. Iphone apps would schedule the bus trips dynamically.

    But that would run against the Anglo-Saxon spirit of Waging War In Foreign Lands For Fun. The Viking Spirit is Alive And Kicking.

    1. David Dawson
      Thumb Up

      Airships to Vikings

      Via the AK47s, the US Military Industrial Complex Iphones and the state of public transport.

      Sir, I salute your dedication.

  11. Clockworkseer

    Not Lighter Than Air

    So, it needs forward flight to keep it airborne as it uses fuel, is what that seems to be saying?

    Surely this negates one of the major plus points of using a blimp? Namely that you can keep station statically with no more effort than that needed to overcome air currents?

    1. annodomini2

      Heavier than air benefits

      1. Its easier to land, as you don't need loads of people on guide ropes. (The primary benefit)

      2. If you lose power, it will come down, slowly.

      3. I doubt the military would want it stationary, ok its slow, but a moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one.

      They are also beneficial for heavy lift capabilities, think low energy hover craft that's not restricted to coast lines.

  12. Arthur Jackson

    I got a scale model one of those

    Made by Bowers and Wilkins - fabulous bit of kit but certainly not lighter than air.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $500m? I can buy two A380s for that sort of money.

    One of them slightly used and missing bits of engine, admittedly...

  14. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @target practice, anyone

    Yes but anything that can shoot to 20,000ft and have a large enough warhead to damage a helium filled airship (they aren't exactly vulnerable) isn't going to be something you can carry on a donkey or hide up your burka.

    So 0.1seconds after you fire the outgoing round somebody's artillery radar is going to spot it and do a bit of serious counter-battery fire on your ****.

    This will give the artillery something to do since they have generally been a bit limited by the lack of targets they are allowed to shell (dropping large amounts of explosive ordnance on civilians or your own side being a role generally reserved for the airforce.)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      To Counter That

      ..the 88 truck will be situated on the main road of a big village. I am sure the Americans have set up rules which would forbid an artillery strike on those coordinates (all the suckers such as Germany, UK and France have to follow those rules, at the risk of Merkin Media Defamation). At that time, the airship is already downed.

      Also, a single 88mm hit is probably enough.

  15. Dave Bell

    Not the last

    The LZ130 Graf Zeppelin flew after the Hindenburg disaster. Essentially the same design, and it never entered passenger service, but it means that LZ129 Hindenburg was not the last.

  16. Spectre

    Not the last I believe...

    Wasn't the LZ-130 (named the Graf Zeppelin II) actually the last of the rigid airships -- not the Hindenburg??

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LZ129 wasn't the last

    The Hindenberg had a later sister ship, the LZ130, the second Graf Zeppelin; the LZ131 was also under construction when war broke out and Zeppelin switched to aircraft production.

  18. Robinson
    Thumb Down

    Should be ready...

    This thing should be ready around the time we're due to pull out of Afghanistan. I think as an investment the gay bomb would have been better. At least we'd all get a good laugh out of it.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You Don't Need To Shoot It Down!

    Just have your platoon of comrade's set off some very cheap candle-powered hot air balloons over a wide area and let them ascend. Some of them are bound to come into contact with this inflatable condom and when they do Basil Brush will enter stage left to say "boom, boom!".

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Yankies = corporate killing for fun and profit.

    "Fuel costs are minimal at $11,000 for a 21-day period of service. It's very green," says Alan Metzger, Northrop airships chief."

    Arsehole war profiteering company makes big bucks flogging gasbags. People of Afghanistan thrilled to bits (and pieces).

  21. Rogerborg

    Why not use hydrogen?

    It's unmanned, you say? And given that it's only ever going to be used in areas where the enemy has been bombed back to the stone age, vulnerability isn't an issue. So what's the problem with using cheap hydrogen rather than expensive helium?

  22. Graham Bartlett


    So how many Reg Standard Jubs is that?

  23. skyship

    Hybrid Air Vehicles, the LEMV and HAV 304

    Hi folks,

    Great to hear Hybrid Air Vehicles are well on track for an on time delivery of the new HAV 304 for the US Army. I think you will find that the hovercraft, the Harrier jump jet and supersonic Concord, that were all great flying machines designed in Blighty, will soon have a new friend in aviation history. The future also looks interesting as Hybrid Air Vehicles also has the Skycat series, which is now of great interest to the US Air Force for long range point to point cargo.

    The big green deal with these new Hybrid Air Vehicles is their amazing low fuel consumption, about 10 to 15% of the equivalent gas guzzling fixed wing aircraft. The reason is partly because they use Helium to provide most of the lift, but also they use the latest fuel efficient diesels. They are destined to change the course of aviation history for airborne surveillance, cargo and even for passengers who prefer comfort to speed.

    Regards JB ( and Gasbags comedy site

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