A British robot blimp prototype has made its first flight inside a large hangar. The company making the droid airship is run by noted aerial daredevil Per Lindstrand, famous for his ballooning sky-jinks with beardy biz tycoon Richard Branson. BAE concept pic of its blimp offering BAE's vision system vision The GA22 robot …
Airship, damn you sir!
Just the thing to annoy the Taliban?
I'm sure a mobile phone cell and a heap of batteries should fit in 150kg.
the future is cigar-shaped
The surveillance part is depressing, but help with comms, and further development of blimps taking heavy loads slowly but greenly around the world, is to be welcomed.
And slow luxury travel, as with the dirigibles of the 1930s, could make a come-back.
How secret can they be, unless they've found a way of making the thing invisible as well.
Flame icon - in honour of the Hindenburg.
has nobody thought that something quite large and rather slow would make an easy target for all manner of ordnance.
There is insufficient lift capacity to carry much in the way of defensive equipment, so it will end up a sitting duck (balloon)
Black helicopters - because they will have to fly alongside to protect it.
If you paint the balloon blue and cover the payload in mud then it will look like a small rain cloud in the blue sky ... the effect can be heightened by employ ground troops to walk up and down with an umbrella while saying "tut, tut, I looks like rain". However, even this disguise may not fool the wrong type of bees.
Re: the future is cigar-shaped
Why did you decide that it is slow?
Distance between London and Paris as the crow flies: 340 km. Maximum blimp airspeed assuming it is as fast as old good Graph Zeppelin - 120km/h. This makes it 3 hours or so from one city center to the other if it can travel at pre-WW2 speeds.
If it can go a bit faster it can happily compete with any airplane travel across most of Europe. Considering that it can fly from one citty center straight to another this gets to be even more interesting.
In fact, modern airplanes waste nearly an hour to get to cruising altitude and descend from it regardless of where they go. Add to that 1h+ to get to most airports from most city centers and you get a very favourable picture for a blimp city hopper business in Europe.
Re: Secret Missions
If you fly the secret mission at night, you'd probably slip past even the most observant bees.
2 Clicks Up is far enough
Your not going to shoot something down from 2KM up with an assault rifle, consider that the battle range of an AK47 is between 250 and 400 metres, with an 800 metres effective range, and that is with a ground to ground trajectory.
And you can only shoot at it if you can see it in the first place. Even on a clear night it is going to pretty much go un-noticed. 22 metres long is not exactly huge.
Do you really think the designers never thought about how it could be shot down?
I for one...
welcome our new dirigible overlords.
This dirigible with a coat of radar absorbing paint in a neutral colour and a probably low heat signature will at 6000' most likely be very difficult to spot let alone shoot it down.
"has nobody thought that something quite large and rather slow would make an easy target for all manner of ordnance."
No Geoff, no one has thought about this until you did just then. BAES clearly need your type insightful mind working for them. Call Steve Chantry, head of the Bleddin' Obvious Dept. at BAES Warton for an interview.
For clarification, it's going to be able to get close to 2km up, and in surveillance mode probably offset by another 5km. Even if you notice this quiet object in the sky, and decide it's watching you, what have you got that will hit it? Even pretty new MANPADs will struggle to get a low signature object like a dirigible.
dirigible, blimp or airship
IAs far as I know, the terms zeppelin, dirigible and airship are used interchangeably for any type of rigid airship, with the term blimp alone used to describe non-rigid airships.
So, is it rigid or not?
Just pretend there's a Paris Hilton icon there.