Feeds

Monster Afghan spy airship to feature quad drinking straws

Also: New vid of unsold P-791 Walrus suck-belly ship

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

US aero-weapons goliath Lockheed, builder of the famous P-791 airship prototype, was beaten to a half-billion-dollar deal to supply spy ships above Afghanistan earlier this year - but the firm is still marketing its P-791 technology aggressively.

Meanwhile details have emerged of the powerful surveillance gear to be carried by the winning airships, which will be built in the US to a British design.

First up, here's a spanking new Lockheed marketing vid describing their ship:

The P-791 was built in-house by Lockheed's secretive "Skunk Works" advanced-projects arm, hoping to be selected for the now defunct "Walrus" project. This was a plan by the maverick Pentagon crazytech agency DARPA in the early years of the century to produce mighty cargo-hauling airships which would be able to drop off an entire US ground-combat battalion, fully equipped, in a single load, at an unprepared site.

In the event, the Walrus project was cancelled in 2006 and the only remaining buyer for a big airship became the US Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) project, seeking an "optionally manned" ship able to prowl the skies above Afghanistan for weeks at a time observing events beneath. Aerial surveillance at present is normally carried out by aeroplanes both manned and unmanned, but these have high running costs, require large servicing crews at their bases and several must be deployed in order to keep one on patrol.

Lockheed offered a P-791-derived craft for the LEMV programme, but was beaten to the deal by rival US arms megacorp Northrop Grumman, offering a ship designed by Blighty's Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd.

This makes sense, as the LEMV mission is quite different from the Walrus one. The surveillance ship doesn't need to carry nearly as much payload, instead being specified to reach twice the altitude - 20,000 feet as opposed to 10,000. (The Walrus' low ceiling was essential for it to have any chance of lifting its planned load, but meant it would have been very vulnerable; this is probably why it was cancelled.)

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.