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Pentagon develops UFO-like airship

Posted on Wednesday, 9 January, 2013 | Comment icon 33 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: Aeroscraft

A vast 230ft airship may soon replace conventional aircraft for hauling cargo over long distances.

Designed by Aeroscraft in conjunction with the Pentagon, the 'Pelican' looks more like Thunderbird 2 than a traditional airship. Designed to carry up to 10 tons of cargo across large distances the ship uses a fraction of the fuel of a standard aircraft. The Pentagon is also hoping that in the future such ships will be useful for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

If the prototype proves a success, there are plans to scale things up with an even larger 450ft model capable of hauling 66 tons of cargo. It is also possible that the ships could serve as luxury private yachts for the rich or as a vehicle for sightseeing and long-distance cruises for tourists.

"Developed by Aeroscraft, the 230-foot-long prototype airship called the Pelican is designed to lift up to 10 tons of cargo across long distances, using a fraction of the fuel needed by an airplane."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #24 Posted by Cherokee Wolf on 12 January, 2013, 4:27
Very cool!
Comment icon #25 Posted by and then on 12 January, 2013, 15:00
I also wonder if it could be profitable for "cruises". Transatlantic/Pacific travels with beautiful vistas. Shore excursions could be a bit dicey though
Comment icon #26 Posted by cenobite on 12 January, 2013, 19:01
is this actually real? i find this video quite bizarre, why would the military advertise new tech?
Comment icon #27 Posted by Uncle Sam on 13 January, 2013, 1:28
I wonder how it would hold up against air-defenses... Guessing it will only be deployed after all anti-air defenses are taken out and we have air superiority. Being a hydrogen craft that is basically one giant balloon floating in the sky, it would be quite easy to be downed and means tons of equipment lost in battle. Once again our government isn't thinking about what could happen and how to protect such a precious aircraft.
Comment icon #28 Posted by aztek on 13 January, 2013, 1:42
it doesn't matter, what matters is to secure funds.
Comment icon #29 Posted by and then on 13 January, 2013, 3:00
When you think of it, cargo aircraft are just as vulnerable. The key will be to only use them in situations for resupply not too close to a hostile area. Massive amounts of supplies could be staged and all that would need be done is inflate and sail
Comment icon #30 Posted by Zaphod222 on 13 January, 2013, 5:43
Hydrogen is "safe"? You better ask the Hindenburgh crew about that! Maybe you meant to write "helium". Helium is safe alright, but it is also prohibitively expensive to produce. The military, being goverment (i.e. tax-payer) funded, has of course no budget qualms... they do not have a market place to answer to. But for private travel and transport, the zeppelin age is gone. Unless you find a way to produce cheap helium.
Comment icon #31 Posted by Zaphod222 on 13 January, 2013, 5:47
I think for luxury cruises, zeppelins could find a market niche. The question is if the market is big anough to develop and produce enough of these things to make it viable. I suspect the market niche is too small.
Comment icon #32 Posted by DieChecker on 14 January, 2013, 20:31
That is not going to happen, unless they figure out cheap nuclear fusion. Most helium, AFAIK, comes from natural gas deposits were it is pulled up with everything else and seperated in an early stage of refinement. Otherwise helium is very rare in Earth's atmosphere and would be impossible to get cheaply in any real amounts. Hydrogen on the other hand can be made from water. Speculation on the Hindenburg is that the skin of the ship was actually a major factor in why it was not safe. Hydrogen when it burns is almost colorless and burns so fast as to basically not do much damage. If the s... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by ~C.S.M~ on 26 January, 2013, 17:19
Yes I agree, not for front line, but more for cargo landings in safe zones. A good idea, no doubt.

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