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291 comments

At Last!!! (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542237)

An airship that will look like the budget that funds it!

I've been a huge fan of airships after reading up on them, but this thing will positively scream "TARGET" (not the chain store) to every radical nut with a shoulder launch missile. It will also move rather slowly.

Perhaps a good choice for moving materiel between safe locations, but not something you'd fly over the Middle East any time soon.

Re:At Last!!! (2, Funny)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542250)

Anyone seen cid? I think he's probably looking for his vehicle...

Re:At Last!!! (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542267)

C5s & C141s are not exactly small & speedy.

Re:At Last!!! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542361)

C5s & C141s are not exactly small & speedy.

Far faster than this will be. This may be more manueverable, but not nimble enough to swing out of the path of a missile. For that matter, a foot bow could probably put a small payload into the hide of something like this from a location with moderate cover.

Re:At Last!!! (5, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542691)

Helium aircraft are a lot harder to shoot down than you might imagine. People are so used to party balloons that they seem to get the idea that helium aircraft failures would decompress as rapidly. Not even close - in addition to having more resilient skin, the volume rises proportional to the radii cubed, while the surface area proportional to the radii squared. I.e., there's a lot more gas to dissipate compared to the size of the hole. Then factor in that it's under lower pressure, and you get very favorable numbers. Small holes do very little to large airships.

On the subject of missiles: I wonder how effective traditional homing mechanisms would be on a craft like this, with its potential for unusual engine positionings, visual profile, and probably an odd, disproportionate radar signature. Given its great size and slow speed, if they had effective countermeasures on it it might almost be worth painting it in Dazzle [gotouring.com] camouflage.

Re:At Last!!! (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542862)

What would a high powered riffle do to this?

Re:At Last!!! (5, Funny)

brohan (773443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542268)

Also, this airship isn't built for hardiness at all. From what I can get from the article it will have many points of faliure. I don't see how a well placed photon torpedoes down a shaft can bring the whole death star^W^W Walrus down.

Heavy lift aircraft don't usually do combat drops (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542340)

except from altitude and even then they are rarely if ever deployed in heavily contested areas. Most of the time they require large airstrips which in itself implies control over land and air of the region.

What it does offer is many possiblities for not just military operations. If these things pan out in efficiency you can bet UPS and FED Ex would want them. Let alone the possibilities of flying cruise ships!

FWIW, anything is a target for a terrorist, though preference is giving to things that don't shoot back.

Re:Heavy lift aircraft don't usually do combat dro (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542415)

except from altitude and even then they are rarely if ever deployed in heavily contested areas. Most of the time they require large airstrips which in itself implies control over land and air of the region.

In the article they mention making landings near combat zones on unimproved landing fields.

What it does offer is many possiblities for not just military operations. If these things pan out in efficiency you can bet UPS and FED Ex would want them. Let alone the possibilities of flying cruise ships!

Oh, heck yes! Have you seen how the passenger compartment of the Hindenburge (LZ-129) was laid out? Pure luxury! I'd fly to London in that in a heartbeat, screw the extra hours it takes.

FWIW, anything is a target for a terrorist, though preference is giving to things that don't shoot back.

Sure, but what is this thing supposed to shoot back with? This looks like the Glider fiasco of WW II all over again.

Re:Heavy lift aircraft don't usually do combat dro (3, Interesting)

dakirw (831754) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542521)

FWIW, anything is a target for a terrorist, though preference is giving to things that don't shoot back.

Sure, but what is this thing supposed to shoot back with? This looks like the Glider fiasco of WW II all over again.

Something big enough could probably mount some cannons, rockets, or missiles. They could be mounted pod-style, like on attack helicopters, or internally, like warships or the F-22 Raptor.

Re:Heavy lift aircraft don't usually do combat dro (2, Interesting)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542822)

For that matter, why not carry an F-22? This thing is supposed to lift 500 tons.

Re:At Last!!! (2, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542373)

In a post petroleum era, control of the air may rely on balloon technology. One byproduct of oil production in the US is that we are virtually the world leader in supplies of helium. This fact, and our reluctance to sell same to Germany, was the main reason for a particular fire in Lakehurst NJ some years back

Re:At Last!!! (0, Redundant)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542878)

Hydrogen airships got a bad rap. It was the flammable coating on the Hindenburg's skin that was the main problem. Helium is too rare and useful for other things to waste in commercial airship transport. Helium comes from natural gas wells, not oil wells per se. And it's a fission byproduct, too - that should set the environmentalists off. And airships burn plenty of petrolum, too, though less than jets or perhaps even ships.

Re:At Last!!! (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542601)

oh, but the stealth cloaking technology should take care of that, they wont even know its there!

but realisticly: flying at night, they'd be deadly silent and all but invisible to everything but radar (unless they flew low enough?). I guess you trade speed, armor and agility for stealth.

Re:At Last!!! (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542615)

. . .every radical nut with a shoulder launch missile.

Around here we just call them "arrows."

KFG

Re:At Last!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542688)

Perhaps a good choice for moving materiel between safe locations, but not something you'd fly over the Middle East any time soon.

Worry not about that! http://www.angelfire.com/alt2/pblimp/blimp2.html [angelfire.com]

Re:At Last!!! (1)

brassman (112558) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542705)

Ever play the original Dynamix "Red Baron"? The missions against dirigibles were a bear to complete -- come zooming in from almost any angle and there's another frelling gun turret in your face.

It's too big to be taken out. (2, Informative)

lommer (566164) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542727)

Answers to the "target problem"

1) bullet holes are no problem. Airships like the goodyear blimp get shot at regularly by rednecks and the compartmentalization keeps them afloat.

2) This thing should be able to carry a fairly advanced array of anti-missile weaponry and decoys. Combined with a low radar and heat signature, it's not as good a target as one might think. It should even have enough lifting capacity that they can throw in some anti-missile gatling guns like the ones they use on cruisers and aircraft carriers. Also, it flies quite high, out of the range of shoulder-launched missiles (they only have a range of a few miles), so you only really have to worry about conventional missiles.

3) Back in the heyday of airships, the US Navy actually built and tested "aircraft carrier" airships. They carried a complement of fighter airplanes on board, and could launch them at will for self defense. Recovery involved catching a cable hanging underneath the airship, not unlike arrestor cables on modern aircraft carriers. Updating the technology to the jet age and accomodating the higher speeds would not be easy, but it could be done.

In short, these things are a lot more practical for military purposes (let alone civilian) than one might think.

Uh-oh (-1, Offtopic)

omglol (913666) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542241)

My monkey just threw up.

Haha I'll be Rich!! (3, Funny)

OneByteOff (817710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542242)

By Selling them my girlfriend, some off-green paint and helium tanks!!!!

Re:Haha I'll be Rich!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542316)

By Selling them my girlfriend, some off-green paint and helium tanks!!!!

Ob Rush Limbaugh vs. Hindenburg joke...

Haha I'll be Rich too!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542363)

By Selling them my fat-ass boyfriend, some off-green paint and helium tanks!!!!

It's so intimidating... (1)

SuppleMonkey (846625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542264)

...that the pilots will see how they run like pigs from a gun.

Re:It's so intimidating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542602)

I'm cryin'...

Protection Methods??? (4, Insightful)

Nerd Systems (912027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542266)

I read this story and it is very impressive how much tonnage that this device can carry... only one question comes to mind... how are they going to protect it?

Based on the size of this warship, not to mention the slowness of it, am sure that it can't just easily outrun a fighter jet sent to destroy it, or be able to perform evasive manuevers...

I can imagine that it will be escorted by a fighter division, not to mention have some high-tech anti-missle weapons and the like, yet I can see an air to air missle easily bypassing those protections and bringing down a TON of hardware with it... major catastrophe...

Anyone have any ideas what sort of protection methods will be used to protect this massive warship, as well as if this will be used for strictly hardware transport, or troop transportation as well?

We shall find out shortly it seems...

Re:Protection Methods??? (5, Insightful)

greulich (87871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542307)

The Goodyear blimps come home with bullet holes all of the time. An airship is a lot more difficult to bring down than you would think.

As long as you don't coat it in rocket fuel of course... ;)

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542447)

Oh the humanity!!!

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542465)

Anyway..

Re:Protection Methods??? (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542479)

As long as you don't coat it in rocket fuel of course

Myth [colorado.edu] .

Re:Protection Methods??? (4, Funny)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542327)

Put a giant teddy bear costume on it. No one would shoot a cute teddy bear!

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542533)

Nah ... paint it with a likeness of the "Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man", and the message "Compliments of Zuul." Nobody without an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on their backs will come anywhere near it.

Re:Protection Methods??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542331)

Gee whiz, we didn't think about that. Project cancelled.

Sincerely,

DARPA

CC Lockheed Martin, Aeros Aeronautical Systems

Re:Protection Methods??? (2, Funny)

banuk (148382) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542345)

ever see that simpsons?

"Bogey's airspeed not sufficient for intercept. Suggest we get out and walk."

Dogs, or bees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542795)

Perhaps Dogs? Or bees? Or dogs that bark and bees come out of their mouths??

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542389)

Continent transport of a LARGE amount of cargo. Think of transfering from the Europian theatre to the mid-east theatre. This is a good way to get large amounts of supplies there in a relatively short period of time.

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542470)

By the time the army moves in, whoever they're fighting doesn't have any runways for a jet to take off from, and probably no aircraft either (because the US isn't going to try to move ground troops under enemy aircraft; air-to-ground is just too effective these days). The bigger danger is surface-to-air. But really, this is likely to mostly replace moving stuff in by helicopter, and helicopters aren't that tough or fast either, and have the habit of crashing even when they haven't been shot, so it's a win all around.

You said it yourself...... (4, Insightful)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542505)

Warship.

Even the most modern, lumbering Aircraft Carrier is a big target for waiting submarines / strike aircraft so you protect it.

You protect these things according to their strategic value. ie: The Aircraft carrier is strategically valuable so you give it a Frigate / Destroyer screen along with air-cover.

In the case of the huge HTA cargo carrier, you likewise protect it with fighters, refuellers etc and because it can carry huge ammounts, perhaps give it it's own air to air missile system.

Given it's size / lifting capability, perhaps these warships could also carry a Phallanx / Goalkeeper type system.

Re:You said it yourself...... (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542552)

Yes, and if it needs to move really fast, they can just point that bigass gun out the back and pull the trigger.

Re:Protection Methods??? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542518)

I can imagine that it will be escorted by a fighter division, not to mention have some high-tech anti-missle weapons and the like, yet I can see an air to air missle easily bypassing those protections and bringing down a TON of hardware with it... major catastrophe...

Missile technology has advanced to the point where regular heavy cargo aircraft can't avoid them either. Yes, the Walrus is huge and slow, but being slightly smaller and faster like a C-5 Galaxy isn't really going to help.

Essentially the Walrus won't really need any protections that aren't already in place during a heavy airlift.

However, the rough-field/land-anywhere capability is a massive boon. You can park one of these babies carrying all the heavy equipment for a full engineering division and make an airfield on the spot for the rest of your heavy lifters.

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542537)

For a start, helium filled, multiple gas bags. These things are mostly empty space. You'll have to hit it lots of times punching big holes to have any effect at all. Little holes will just leak slowly.

Flying aircraft carrier (1)

doktoromni (839179) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542555)

Simple: make the thing so DAMNED *BIG* that it can carry fighters - a flying aircraft carrier!

Re:Flying aircraft carrier (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542668)


Spectrum Is Go!

Re:Protection Methods??? (2, Interesting)

zorkmid (115464) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542556)

I'm thinking that protection isn't going to be that big of a problem.

Mount a bunch of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense guns so you have 360 degree line of fire.

Hook them up to buff computer network and program it to create a 1000 foot killing zone around the craft. So if they flip it on in a hostile area anything heading towards it gets turned into a cloud of debris.

And enough already with all the idiots and their "omgz!! it'll blowdz up like the Hindenburg!!".

That's just annoying and ignorant.

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542798)

A vehicle with a 500-ton cargo capacity would make a great platform for an anti-missile laser. We can fit those in a 747, so this thing should have capacity to spare.

Re:Protection Methods??? (1)

child_of_mercy (168861) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542818)

it's about as vulnerable as any transport for god's sake.

you keep them out of harms way whenever possible.

Goo Goo Goo Joob! (2, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542270)

Here's another clue for you all - the Walrus was Paul.

Makes me think of "Warlords of the Air" - a peculiar Moorcock book from the 70's. Had flying dreadnaughts - designed by the Chilean wizard O'Bean.

Warlords of the Air (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542461)

I think I liked "The Land Leviathan" more, to be honest. Although I thought Moorcock was making some kind of statement about fate when Hiroshima ended up being the first city to get nuked anyway.

seems sort of risky (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542281)

I mean, I would assume they're not bulletproof or anything, so it seems sort of weird to field a giant cargo ship you can bring down with a .22

Re:seems sort of risky (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542370)

A single .22 hole would probably take tens of hours to cause significant deflation.

Re:seems sort of risky (1)

doktoromni (839179) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542590)

Actually, small blimps shot with *rifles* take *weeks* to deflate significantly. I bet that this thing would continue to float even if punctured by a canonball.

Re:seems sort of risky (3, Funny)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542400)

it seems sort of weird to field a giant cargo ship you can bring down with a .22
I don't think they'd build it out of party balloons.

Re:seems sort of risky (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542896)

I don't think these ships will resemble this: http://www.clusterballoon.org/ [clusterballoon.org]

BTW, war balloons were first used in the Anglo South African war of 1898 till 1901. These balloons were used as look-outs by the Brits and were hydrogen filled. The ZAR shot them full of holes, but they always landed softly - hydrogen doesn't burn easily.

On a technical note: In this war, the Brits had balloons and wire line telegraphs, while the ZAR had radios and heliographs (and long range guns and smokeless ammo). Cryptography was primitive - they all used Morse and code words.

Eventually the only way the Brits could win was by systematically burning the whole country down. Even today, the match stick is more powerful than any military weapon.

We do know what happens to dirgibles... (-1, Flamebait)

MHZmaster (875950) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542285)

Hydrogen+Warfare=Giant fireball

It seems to me that these things would just be huge-ass targets. Not to mention that it would be all but impossible to hide one.

Other than that a good idea, though.

Re:We do know what happens to dirgibles... (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542514)

Oh the humanity !!

Air ballons and rockets (-1, Redundant)

rawwa.venoise (881755) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542293)

And all i takes to get this giant down is a simple rocket ...
500 tons of garbage failling from the sky.
After this people with afraid of sky no longer need to take pils, the fear will be real !!!

Re:Air ballons and rockets (1)

slazzy (864185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542342)

To me this seems like a pretty good idea. It would be wise to keep the numbers of them small and spread out in relativly safe locations so that the unfriendlies wouldn't bother to target them too much . Be very useful to airlift that much weight even very short distances - lift tanks up a clif from a ship that would otherwise have been impossible.

Commercial Uses Galore (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542294)

Nice thing about this, is it would be perfect for doing firefighting or even work in 9/11-katrina areas (think of it as a floating hospital, or simply ability to drop in national guard, etc). Hopefully, it gets used.

Re:Commercial Uses Galore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542424)

This would be a horrible use for firefighting since fires create enormous updrafts, enough that pilots here in Canada by law are supposed to stay at least 5 miles away from them. This means that it would be near impossible for any blimp to fly near. And as for helping disaster areas, (using Katrina for an example) whatever disaster relief there is needs to get across the country, any cargo plane can fly there, drop off cargo, then fly back to base across the country, I would imagine the blimp would take days to go one way.

Re:Commercial Uses Galore (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542481)

When we have forest fires, we need to get tons of water in on top of the trees. Being able to load up from a lake and literally bring in 100 tons and slowly drop it in on top of them, would help a great deal with all the fires that we have in west. Right now, the approach is to use an old bomber and try and bring it in as fast as possible and get back to the fire asap. With this approach, we can simply lower a number of hoses and spray. Or we can just dump (you prefer being in closer though, and that will not happen with a large craft. Keeping 10 of these around the west, would allow us to quickly stop a fire and move the vehicle to the next fire. At the very least, it will allow for controlling the fire.

Re:Commercial Uses Galore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542488)

Either you aren't in Canada or someone screwed up.

Five miles away?

Re:Commercial Uses Galore (1)

njchick (611256) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542882)

Five metric miles

Balloon Bomber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542304)

I wonder how the Iraqis would like one of these [sportogo.com] bombing their country.

what about defense mechanisms? (-1, Redundant)

brunokummel (664267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542347)

considering that we are living in the rocket age of warfare, it looks like a huge moving target to me!

Interesting, but i wonder... (-1, Redundant)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542348)

...how will they protect such a ship? They might as well paint a bullseye on it.

Re:Interesting, but i wonder... (2, Funny)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542440)

Hmm, good idea.

Paint the bullseye, just make sure there is a safe spot behind it for the bullets to land ;)

Hehe, it would be hard to shoot at it and NOT instinctively aim for the bullseye.

Re:Interesting, but i wonder... (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542666)

that's got to be the best idea I've seen ;o) and funny to boot!

Big Brother (1, Insightful)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542353)

Instead of for transport, big baloons and dirigibles will be used for surveillance! Imagine a huge blimp using clouds as camouflage! [uncoveror.com] It is watching us all more closely than any satellite, and we don't know they are there. They will be like floating death stars!

That's no could, it's a space station! (1)

Solkre (787360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542592)

I don't think clouds would give off heat signatures and bounce back radar like a HUGE BALLON. Interesting idea though.

Nick Fury's flying fortress! (0, Redundant)

zenneth (767572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542376)

We'll just put a few anti-everything-that-can-possibly-harm-us lasers (no sharks), a wholly capable tracking/guidance system, and a tremendous powerplant on some type of carbon-nanotube armored kevlar balloon and Presto! Instant Flying Dome o' Doom.

Re:Nick Fury's flying fortress! (1)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542724)

What about lasers?! I want lasers!!!!!

DARPA challenge (1)

shut_up_man (450725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542379)

What if such developments in dirigible tech actually mean that it's easier for a robot to fly from LA to Las Vegas? Would the DARPA Challenge be folded up since it's no longer needed, or is there a real requirement for land-based robotic vehicles? Are flying vehicles a level of magnitude more expensive?

Re:DARPA challenge (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542464)

Are flying vehicles a level of magnitude more expensive?

No, but the jetpacks to fly up to them are.

Re:DARPA challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542700)

Its already much easier for a flying vehicle to make it. UAVs fly over baghdad everyday. Most commercial aircraft are 95% autonomous. One company in Oregon built a 2 meter plane that flew 5000 miles from Alaska to Russia on 5 gallons of gas, autonomously. My university build a helicopter capable of flying a GPS waypoint route autonomously for less than $10,000. Check AUVSI.org, they have tons of examples. The ground-based requirement is exactly what makes the DARPA challenge hard.

I for one welcome our Big Balloon Overlords (0, Troll)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542380)

Now pass me the helium tank so I can talk in a high squeaky voice and scare off the terrarists.

sigh.

.

.

.

yeah, I know it's hydrogen, but it's funnier that way ...

Thunderbirds are go! (4, Funny)

centinall (868713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542382)

Looks just like Thunderbird 2.

Re:Thunderbirds are go! (1)

ziggit (811520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542441)

You beat me to it

Stupid but not that stupid (4, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542398)

Only a few comments so far, most of them about how easy it would be to shoot it down.

But it won't be that easy. First of all, compartmentation. No doubt the bag will be at least dozens, if not hundreds, of individual compartments. Weight prevents anything equivalent to a ship with thousands of watertight compartments, but there will certainly be enough that bullets won't be much of a danger. The lifting gas won't be under pressure, so it won't start rips that widen the holes. And certainly the gas bag material will have anti-rip threading.

It won't use hydrogen either, no one is that stupid. Helium is the lifting gas of choice.

Shoulder fired missles are not a threat. This thing will fly above them. Their range is only a couple of miles. Full sized missles and full size AAA are a different matter, but again, compartmentation will help, and gas bags probably don't provide much of a radar signature to trigger fuzes, nor does the gas bag itself offer enough resistance to trigger most fuzes; they will probably fly right through and leave behind a few holes, trivial to patch.

Which brings up damage control. I am sure the crew will be able to climb around inside and apply temporary patches.

I think these heavy lift combat balloons are a silly idea. But they aren't nearly as silly as so many quick posts make out.

Re:Stupid but not that stupid (2, Interesting)

marshall_j (643520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542777)

Full sized missles and full size AAA are a different matter, but again, compartmentation will help, and gas bags probably don't provide much of a radar signature to trigger fuzes, nor does the gas bag itself offer enough resistance to trigger most fuzes; they will probably fly right through and leave behind a few holes, trivial to patch.

But the cargo inside the ship will indeed be solid and will offer enough resistance!

Re:Stupid but not that stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542827)

Yes, but they still look like a sitting.... Walrus.

Can anyone say Popular Science (1)

Vile Slime (638816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542401)

Looks,

Like a remake of the crap Popular Science seems to devote every third issue to.

Yawn. No make that YAWN!

Helicopters (1)

Widowwolf (779548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542411)

Why not just bring back the "Skirosy" Helicopters, they have a decent speed, they can carry a long list of cargo(vehicles, munitions, bombs, troops), and they can carry some decent weaponary and armor for themselves..personally i would rather see a new fleet of these then airships..anyone who wants to see em they are here----->http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/s ystems/aircraft/h-53.htm

Re:Helicopters (2, Insightful)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542547)

I'm sure you'd like a fleet of these, but helicopters are intensely expensive in terms of maintenace-per-flying-hour and these guys can only carry about 18 tons each (36K pounds). If the Walrus can do 500 tons, that's the equivalent of 27 helicopters and for many cases that do not involve threat of enemy activity (e.g. ferrying troops from VA to Germany) ... it's probably good enough, and much more economical.

Suprise Suprise. (1)

Mastadex (576985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542416)

The US just awarded lockheed Martin with lots of money to build an oversized goodyear blimp. Is it me or did anyone else notice that Lockheed had several patents on 'war blimps' already?

Ekranoplans, Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542417)

Maybe it's just me, but it seems as though this might be vulnerable to enemy attack on a _ridiculous_ scale. I know the the Russians were working on very large aircraft (ekranoplans) [se-technology.com] that use the wing-in-ground effect to stay aloft, and could theoretically transport an armored battalion at once at 400kts. That would seem to be a much smarter idea, especially since others have been making progress since the Russians gave it up (When Brehznev took over).

RA2... (2, Funny)

MiKM (752717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542438)

Kirov reporting.

thrust...vectoring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542475)

"the Walrus aircraft will be a heavier-than-air vehicle and will generate lift through a combination of aerodynamics, thrust vectoring and gas buoyancy generation and management."

THRUST VECTORING OWNS THE SKY! THIS THING CAN TURN ON A DIME, MACROSS ZERO STYLE!

Diff between Rush L and the Hindenburg (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542497)

One is giant nazi gas bag, the other is a dirigible!

Re:Diff between Rush L and the Hindenburg (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542529)

Oh, the humanity!

obligitory redvsblue quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542532)

I thought I told you to stop making up animals.

zzzzOMG! (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542557)

will generate lift through a combination of aerodynamics, thrust vectoring and blah blahbitty blahbiddy bla blablahblah.

Of course, the article fails to answer the most important question: can it turn on a dime?

Silly question but . . . . (1)

failure-man (870605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542656)

Why are there so many "I Am The Walrus" references associated with this thing?

(Don't shoot me. I'm 22.)

FedEx tried this once (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542659)

FedEx tried this once, with Lockheed Martin Skunk works as the prime and ran out of money. One of the biggest problems was that the vehicle was so big, it would hardly fit onto the runways at LAX. Try having those things land regulary at any busy airport and you are going to have major logistical problems. Also, I worked on a similar concept for a now extinct company in Germany called CargoLifter. There airship was called the CL160, which was actually lighter than air (didn't need aerodynamic lift) and was the length of roughly 3 American football feilds in length. It could carry 160 tons of cargo from destination to destination ...eliminating the need to build things in small enough pieces to be carried on the highway. Seemed like a good business plan until the German government pulled th plug on funding. The old hanger, which could fit two of these things side by side, is now a bioshpere like amusement park:

http://www.my-tropical-islands.com/index-e.htm [my-tropical-islands.com]

It's like a ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13542665)

It is indeed an easy target; like a ship for instance. In WW2 we lost lots of ships to u-boat torpedos. Nobody said we should stop building ships though. This thing probably has its place.

If they armor this ... (1)

brandido (612020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542722)

They will be putting the Lead in Led Zepplin?

Sorry, couldn't resist

Separated at birth? (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542728)

The colour and shape remind me of another old heavy-lift vehicle: Thunderbird 2 [shef.ac.uk] . Coincidence?

Shooting down DARPA (1)

lordbyronxavier (914436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542730)

I read an article that stated theat these blimps are only going to operate in US secured air space.

Kirov reporting! (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#13542888)

Kirov reporting! [cncgames.com]

Airships might be tougher than they look, but I'm still not sure about this one's defenses. Some military transports have rear-mounted cannons in addition to chaffs/flares*, so I guess the Walrus would have at least these. It's still a BUSlowF though, making it an easier target and complicating its escorting.

In any case, this seems to be a very interesting and promising project. It can carry almost twice what an An-225 can, or probably even the An itself. I don't know what the operating costs would be, but that's another possible advantage. As is vertical takeoff/landing. Speed is going to be a disadvantage, but it's still better to be able to carry 500 tons than not to be :).

*- don't these devices require a rapid change of course for the aircraft to be most efficient, making them less efficient in this case?

PS. While I was writing this somebody posted a RA2 reference, but I'll at least add a picture.
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