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The General Who Loved Blimps Too Much

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posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 11:02 AM
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The General Who Loved Blimps Too Much


It's not your normal aircraft projects post. But it does shed some light on some of the shenanigans going on in the procurement process.



He was the Air Force’s spy chief. Then he went straight to a firm selling spy gear. Now he’s in trouble.

The U.S. Air Force’s influential former intelligence chief has agreed to pay a $125,000 fine to settle a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. At issue: a drone blimp the size of a football field, designed to spy on an entire town in a single pass.

The federal government brought a civil lawsuit over allegations that retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula —who at the time was the chief executive officer for a defense startup called MAV6—violated federal laws that prohibit conflicts of interest. Before he left the Pentagon, Deptula had enormous sway over the U.S. military’s aerial surveillance programs. And Blue Devil Block II, as MAV6’s giant spy blimp was known, was one hell of an aerial surveillance effort. The Justice Department accused him of trading on his old connections to get the blimp off the ground, if you’ll forgive the pun.

“From June 2011 to July 2012, while serving as CEO of Mav6, Deptula engaged in communications or appearances on behalf of Mav6 before United States’ officers regarding a U.S. military defense program known as Blue Devil Block II,” reads a statement released by the Justice Department, referring to the giant spy blimp project. “[Blue Devil II is a] program in which the United States contends Deptula participated personally and substantially while he was with the Air Force.”

As part of the settlement, Deptula agreed to pay a fine totaling $125, 000, but did not admit any liability. “The civil penalty claims settled by Deptula and the United States are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability,” the Justice Department statement reads.


But interesting enough is the actual Blue Devil 2.

www.wired.com...



The airship that’s attracted the senators’ attention is known as Blue Devil Block 2. At 370 feet long and 1.4 million cubic feet fat, it is one of the largest blimps built in this country since World War II. All that size allows it to stay in the air for days at a time at 20,000 feet. And it enables the airship to carry an enormous array of cameras and eavesdropping gear — enough to keep tabs on at least four square kilometers at a time. No other singular eye in the sky could track insurgents for so far around.




I get the idea for a blimp like this. but wouldn't people be able to see something this big tracking them? Wouldn't it get shot down?




posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 11:21 AM
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At twenty thousand feet, a big white blimp would be virtually invisible to the naked eye.

With the proper optics, you might be able to see something that looks like a high cloud, but you would have to know Exactly where and when to look for it; remember, Blimps can "run silent", especially if they are designed for stealth with electric motors and low speed props.

You'll never see what you never even think to look for, especially if it is silently doing its best to sneak up on you.

As for being shot down; how?

Even if someone did spot the thing, not many surface to air systems have the range to hit it.

And a blimp doesn't typically have much of an heat signature for IR to lock on to.



posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 11:31 AM
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a reply to: Bhadhidar

Good points.

I imagine you'd have to get into a plane and shoot at it.

I live in Miami and I always hear the GoodYear blimp going over my house on the way to and from Heat or Marlins games.

The engines on blimp are loud. But I imagine you'd not hear them at 20K feet or they'd use something quieter.

What's the loss on performance using a silent system?
edit on 11-2-2015 by grey580 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 11:57 AM
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The biggest advantage or highest use for conventional airships are payload duration and high/low altitude ISR. They are quite superior in loiter especially for a larger payload kit. Once true air superiority is achieved without advanced SAM threat the deployment of these systems would be a preferred surveillance method.
Obviously the downsides are size,speed and defendability not to mention they don't perform in high winds, a major problem when approaching or exceeding 20,000 ft.



posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 02:18 PM
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a reply to: howmuch4another

duration and loiter are their advantages - their payloads are miniscule compared to aeroplanes.

but in these days of miniaturization even their small payloads can be very capable, and they can keep them in a relatively stable station for a long time.



posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 04:38 PM
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a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

agreed. payload size is kind of a misnomer in the regular context isn't it. A large payload for BD2 is 2500lbs for example but that is huge compared to a drone so the equipment these things can carry is rather significant. I certainly didn't mean to mislead folks to think these things could drop tanks and artillery lol. I have a friend that has been working on these for the better part of a decade and he is sold on the idea. I on the other hand think they will remain pretty vulnerable to future battlefield tech.



posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 05:45 PM
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originally posted by: Bhadhidar
At twenty thousand feet, a big white blimp would be virtually invisible to the naked eye.

With the proper optics, you might be able to see something that looks like a high cloud, but you would have to know Exactly where and when to look for it;
As for being shot down; how?

Even if someone did spot the thing, not many surface to air systems have the range to hit it.


Can you explain why a big, white blimp is less visible that a typical jetliner at a typical cruising altitude of 35k feet? I see them all of the time from central Texas at that height. As for downing one, at 20k feet that would be too high for a MANPAD, but since the thing would be loitering in the area, the bad guys could bring in a ground-to-air missile. Better yet come in over the top of it with an aircraft and, more or less, drop a big rock on it.


edit on 11-2-2015 by Aliensun because: additional comment



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