The U.S. Missile Defense Agency recently dished out $40 million to Lockheed Martin to design what could soon be the world's largest pilotless airship. It measures 500 feet long, with a volume of 5.2 million cubic feet.
Parked 12 miles up, it will be immune to most ground-launched missiles, and its onboard sensor systems will "see" at least 350 miles in any direction, allowing it to spy most incoming military threats. A fleet of 10, says the MDA, could provide an early-warning curtain for the continental United States.
The helium airship will generate enough electricity from thin-film photovoltaic solar cells to power the engines and generate at least 10kW for the payload.
Meet the Homeland Security Terror Blimp:
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