Giant unmanned airships for Afghan war
Giant unmanned airships that can fly for up to three weeks at a time and scan battlefields on the ground would soon be providing cover for British, US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
London: Giant unmanned airships that can
fly for up to three weeks at a time and scan battlefields on
the ground would soon be providing cover for British, US and
NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The helium-filled drones, jointly being developed by a
team of British and American engineers, will take to the skies
sometime next summer to become the world`s longest endurance
UAV, The Daily Mail reported.
Packed with reconnaissance systems, the UAV being
developed with an assistance of half a billion dollars from
the US military, can operate autonomously at altitudes of
around 22,000 feet for 21 days at a time, and travelling at
speeds of up to 80 knots, the paper said.
Alan Metzger, director for airship programmes at
defence firm Northrop Grumman said that the airship`s ability
to stay in the air for long periods make it perfect for
"This is going to be the longest endurance UAV in the
world, it`s got the ability to stay up for three weeks with
"There will be no gaps in the data that gets put down
to the war-fighter. I don`t know of anything equivalent that
could stay up for three or four weeks," he said.
The firm claims that the new UAVs can cope with a
reasonable amount of small arms fire from Taliban fighters on
The new aerial systems can also be used to move heavy
equipment while in Afghanistan, a massive advantage over
competing UAVS. The aircraft is expected to make its maiden
flight next summer and will be deployed in Afghanistan by
There are 7,000 unmanned aerial vehicles in use by the
armed forces and the Predator UAV has already been used on
many occasions to carry out attacks on Taliban positions in