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Prototype LTA to Fly in 2009

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posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 07:21 AM
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The U.S. Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, Akron, Ohio, a $149.2 million contract in December to build a prototype of an unmanned, untethered, high-altitude airship (HAA). The Defense Department is considering building a fleet of the hovering, re-locatable airships to serve as long-endurance, surveillance radar platforms over coastal areas of the continental United States.

More

As far as loiter time for long range ISR the airship is the way to go - especially if you can keep it in friendly skies.





posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 09:31 AM
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This is really exciting. I think that the age of the airship was cut too short because of the German problems with Hydrogen. My understanding of this transport means is economical and comfortable. I know that this is being used a surveilance platform but it might inspire a return to the age of LTA transport.



posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 10:04 AM
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Interesting... but I don't support the idea... The time of these kind of ships are over... they have more negative sides than positive...



posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 11:12 AM
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I just cant see the point. Over friendly territory there are radar systems that blow these things away (pardon the pun) & over enemy territory they are an easy target. So the question is why ?



posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 11:37 AM
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"It (they) would stay aloft at up to 70,000 feet in excess of three months at a time".

"10 of the airships would need to be on station continuously to provide overlapping
radar coverage of all the approaches to the continental United States."

70k' alt. gives radar a lot of "over the horizon" range.

Incoming aircraft as low as 15,000' could be seen at 500 miles away.
That's one hour advance warning.

They are CHEAP to build and MAINTAIN.



posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 11:52 AM
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Don't forget "Worldwide Aeros" is also still in the race to win this contract:

Lockheed, tiny firm compete for blimp deal

How cool would that be, if Aeros beats mighty Lockheed Martin
They seem to have more experience in building airships.

Check www.globalsecurity.org... for more info about this project.



posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 02:52 PM
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its an old idea that has been reinvented thanks to tech jumps it happens a like cus the need is still there but the tech might not have been improved enough.

take body armour: first it was leather bone and stone, then bronze, iron steel then went out of dat in the 1500s but its was reinvented by vietnam war and is moving to become modern versions of the old knights suits.

Same with airships, american civil war saw them used as recon platforms , tranport scout bombers during ww2, submarine patrol ships in ww2 but new tech replaced them till super bowl blimps and now its getting a rebirth of its preww2 missions.

USed as floating uav carrier bases or laser anti-icbm sub platforms gives them new role in the world, if you can look beyond its history and think about what it could bring to our forces makes them aviable.

They have very low RCS iirc and are very stable add vis stealth and you have a pretty good addition that no other piece of equipent can match.

Its an ideam long over due!



posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 03:08 PM
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The thought of using lasers from the airship as a form of ICBM defence sprang into my mind immediately...


A quick google later and:

www.nti.org...

and

www.defensetech.org...


The Missile Defense Agency is scheduled to begin flight tests of the airship in 2006, and officials want to conduct experiments that combine both systems around that time. The airship is primarily being developed to track missiles,but it could be teamed with the mirror relay system to allow ground-based lasers to track targets that are out of direct view, according to Jane’s. The mirror system would be attached to the airship with cables and would sit 50 meters below the aircraft.


Can/will lasers be developed to the point they could be actually on the aircraft, and result in better range?


Even more here



posted on Feb, 1 2006 @ 12:46 AM
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IG,

>>
As far as loiter time for long range ISR the airship is the way to go - especially if you can keep it in friendly skies.
>>

Six of one. You go up to 60-70,000ft or more and you are really pressing the limits for what these gasses can do in terms of pressurization vs. natural permeability on the even synthetic dense-weave fabrics. You go to a composite cell and it's the fittings that leak while the system weight and payload fraction part company. Certainly, using conventional designs, I _seriously_ doubt if you can both keep the system up and keep it structurally sound, for three months.

I also believe that the ROTHR/JORN system would do as well if not better than this in covering the long approach lanes and would do so at a tenth the vested (loseable asset) costs. Oz has gotten firm tracks on aircraft as far away as Singapore as well as those much deeper in the clutter than is being promised here.

OGJ,

>>
This is really exciting. I think that the age of the airship was cut too short because of the German problems with Hydrogen. My understanding of this transport means is economical and comfortable. I know that this is being used a surveilance platform but it might inspire a return to the age of LTA transport.
>>

At least here, it wasn't hydrogen U.S. 'security constraints' on the use of Helium were simply bogus nationalism trying to embarrass Germany's effort to internationalize her air transport system on a low rent budget because by the time of the Hindenburg disaster, the rigid airship had lost it's ability to outceiling virtually any aircraft and certainly heavy flak.

With the exception of the Roma, all of the major U.S. airship (Akron/Makon/Shenandoah) dirigible disasters derived directly and incontrovertibly from encountering large windshear conditions in which the fore and aft elements of the airships were under separate up/down draft conditions and the airships either porpoised (spilling all ballast, then venting all lift) to stay off the ground. Or broke, structurally, usually at the fins and then shearing across the forward half of the spine once they lost directional control.

That said, while Dirigibles built to the old cigar-cylinder configuration are not particularly stable or strong (large rolling moments, limited pitch control, next to no yaw control. HUGE lags in control input), BLIMPS which are what these aircraft actually are, are even worse and to make them so large without even considering the effects of recovery and ground handling, let alone high altitude conditions, is very foolish in terms of risked payloads and hazardous ground crew conditions.

That said, there is some reason to consider alternatives. Both flat 'disk' (wedge) and 'pyramidal' cylinder forms built around triangular or trapezoidal sections can be desinged in such a way as to either incorporate honeycomb segments (resistant to vertical loads) while maintaining the basically shorter chord resistance of a triangle to lateral (horizontal compression) ones.

Or to exploit a 'train' or 'chain' type structural system wherein you use roll-on/roll-off of major payloads on a single payload deck and then link the segments under a tall roofline of rigid lift cells and 'cap' the lot with a tractor based propulsion system. Since each segment can flex independently and the payload bays are open beneath their lift cells, you get minimal effective side area while the aerocone lead shape allows the lot to be pulled rather quickly.

Speed is probably the key here, both for reasons of economic utilization curves and for safety reasons since speed is it's own lift vector generator and you can use radar to spy and direct or supplemental airfoil lift to topout over as much as outrun weather problems.

If I were going to go with an HAEUAV/Pseudolite type configuration, depending on the surface area I needed for solar cell design, I would probably verticalize the entire structure like a high altitude aerosonde with a flattop solarelectric panel and lift cell tapering to a waisted interconnet with a secondary (hourglass) payload section that had it's own flat-bottom antenna/mirror section and a rigid lodgepole and circular rib interconnect.

Again this would let me minimize presented area in any given-X windcondition as well as to allow for easy modularity/transfer between lift and payload systems (though I would probably rig the taper-space between segments with guy wire tensioners and maybe steering vanes).

The difference here being that IF I lose the the principle lift section, I can probably tailor the remaining section with either smaller lift bags and/or ripstop opening paradrogue capabilities so that /maybe/ I won't lose the entire damn payload due to structural failure or high altitude winds trying to take it someplace other than where I wish it to stay.


KPl.



posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 11:36 AM
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Originally posted by ch1466
IG,

>>
As far as loiter time for long range ISR the airship is the way to go - especially if you can keep it in friendly skies.
>>

Six of one. You go up to 60-70,000ft or more and you are really pressing the limits for what these gasses can do in terms of pressurization vs. natural permeability on the even synthetic dense-weave fabrics. You go to a composite cell and it's the fittings that leak while the system weight and payload fraction part company. Certainly, using conventional designs, I _seriously_ doubt if you can both keep the system up and keep it structurally sound, for three months.

I also believe that the ROTHR/JORN system would do as well if not better than this in covering the long approach lanes and would do so at a tenth the vested (loseable asset) costs. Oz has gotten firm tracks on aircraft as far away as Singapore as well as those much deeper in the clutter than is being promised here.

KPl.


Sure, a Jindalee-type system would be great, but as you know the powers that be want multiple redundancies making up the layers of the defensive sheild, hence long endurance ISR aerial platforms working in (hopeful) unity via networking with ground based and sea based systems.

As for LTA's having technical issues with staying aloft for 3 months, I personally believe this can be accomplished. However, if as you say, staying aloft for 3 months is a problem - so be it...
If I am tasked to have an unblinking airborne ISR platform up for an extended period of time I would figure an LTA could still manage to stay aloft longer and with a greater payload & greater area coverage than a winged UAV loitering for 36-48 hours at a time.

CH1466, Such negative and pessimistic analysis all the time; ya know, defense industry workers do their best with the ever-changing fiscal, technical and political parameters set for their projects by US Gov't clients.



posted on Feb, 4 2006 @ 03:53 PM
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Looks like the folks @ Skunk works are making progress:


Skunk Works' new craft over Plant 42

PALMDALE - A mysterious flying craft seen hovering over Air Force Plant 42 Tuesday morning was the latest creation from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.'s famed Skunk Works on its maiden flight.

The blimp-like aircraft, known simply as P791, is a proof-of-principle vehicle to help engineers learn more about technology and aerodynamics for such airships.

Valley Press




[edit on 2-4-2006 by Zion Mainframe]



posted on Feb, 5 2006 @ 01:42 AM
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IG,

>>
Sure, a Jindalee-type system would be great, but as you know the powers that be want multiple redundancies making up the layers of the defensive sheild, hence long endurance ISR aerial platforms working in (hopeful) unity via networking with ground based and sea based systems.
>>

If you want long loiter, over 'friendly skies' go SATWACS with a relook at Teal Ruby and massively monolithic FPA arrays or 'intelligent optics'. Even 'real radar' (Silent Sentry passive exploitation?) if you can find the bandwidth. Don't screw around with half steps when you have GEO-hover at your command and nobody is likely to kill the high-tier system if it's over our hemisphere.

>>
As for LTA's having technical issues with staying aloft for 3 months, I personally believe this can be accomplished. However, if as you say, staying aloft for 3 months is a problem - so be it...
>>

No. PICK A THRESHOLD. And make it happen. Don't blow sunshine up someone's spec. Because they will change it and then you've blown your cost estimates for nothing.

Have you seen 'A Beautiful Mind'? Remember the sacred-cow-in-bar scenario? What that scene truly represented was not social absolutism stagnating courtship behaviors but the _failure of genetic diversity_ that derives from the fad obsessionism of Pretty People factor. What you have to understand is that the Air Services are both the Stunner and the Tazed (self serving narcissism) in this scenario. In that they 'love themselves' and have no NEED for alternate 'roles and missions' sluts to spread the fixation upon.

Not all of which is cockpit aviation biased either, space based overhead takes up a HUGE chunk of what should be endurance-air pseudolites. But in any case, it's all to support a service ethic based around man _having_ to be on-scene. Before robotic handoff can 'synergize' the target allocation.

>>
If I am tasked to have an unblinking airborne ISR platform up for an extended period of time I would figure an LTA could still manage to stay aloft longer and with a greater payload & greater area coverage than a winged UAV loitering for 36-48 hours at a time.
>>

Since we can't get a UAV up for a week at a time and the USAF just got told to dump the E-10 as 'too costly', I would say that you are being sucker punched.

The most likely 1-2 step into it functionality of which is:

1. ADI is largely CONUS defensive and despite all the 'terror this that and the other', the likelihood of CM or Private Air attack is just not very great, here. Yet that is the principle illustration used (tethered aerostats, drug wars etc. etc.) for which the LTA is compared with on a 'cheap scale'.
2. How do you get from an ever shrinking number of theater MOBs to a limited/primitive number of FSL/FOL with a 100 knot airship that has no hangar to land in?
3. WHY do you need capability to see and hand targets under the find-fix-track-targeting of TST/TCT if you cannot support the _manned_ (2-4 aircraft, every 2-3 hours, for roughly 8-10hrs total) presence by which said targets can be engaged?
4. If an operational blimp runs 100-200 million each, even if it CAN stay up for 30 days, how many smaller, (manned) systems is it costing the force structure for it's one 'giant' mission complex?

And so they have you. It isn't operationally effective because it costs a lot and can't get there, where 'there' is not a preestablised LTA base with plenty of military logistics in place. It isn't operationally suitable because it does things that don't support manned air while it's single-role specialization screws up funding for other, 'cheaper' alternatives, even if they too are not really capable relative to the manned mission cycle.

UNTIL AND UNLESS you utterly debunk the 'only real men can drop bombs' false-postulate by which combat aviation is limited to about 20-40minutes over a sub-1,000nm radius. Everything to create to support that capability is going to be laughed at as 'incompatible' by those hell bent on assuring their own future at the cost of this nation's economic as well as military security.

>>
CH1466, Such negative and pessimistic analysis all the time; ya know, defense industry workers do their best with the ever-changing fiscal, technical and political parameters set for their projects by US Gov't clients.
>>

The defense industry are zombie whores, spreading their legs and gnashing their teeth at any passing contract. Willing to promise anything. Before going back to the self-deluding pretense of competing with themselves because the only missions and platforms which they are _allowed_ to tailor technology for are those related to the old-metric paradigm of man-on-over-and-supporting the battlefield mission set. Where he least belongs.

If you want to impress me with the progress of LTA technology, combine coldcure composites with imbedded geodetic web formers (batter over griddle) and then use a 'blown' vacuform processing technology to create uniformly drape-cast, dual wall (outer then inner), _single process_, composite structures that are gas-tight to at least 70,000ft while remaining able to withstand airloads up to 300 knots at less than 10mil surface thicknesses. Shape this micro-honecomb 'cell wall' structure into a wedge or triangular form as an integral lift gas enclosure with memory-expansion properties. Either in-clave or after. Attach solar cells 'somewhere' (add auxilliary airfoils if you wish) and flat back a boxsprings-and-mattress, 500 element, MP-RTIP antenna system _as a tilted structural element_ (loadbearing rigid keel and lift cell separator) inbetween the top-bottom aeroshells.

Put it up for 120hrs at 1,500nm away from launchpoint with no more than an 6-8hr transit from base, each way. And a further 10hr reserve, for weather, back at home plate.

The aircraft must weigh no more than 30,000lbs, have positive lift vector control in either wingborne or cellborne flight (no 'neutral buoyancy' crap) with highly efficient electric ducted fans and ability to withstand sustain vertical and sideloads of +/-4G. Conventional landing gear and a rolling VL option for carrier recovery are required and it must be no longer than 70X40ft to fit on an elevator. I will accept a tie down deckpark option for +/- 15% over length and weight but if so, spotting factor must still be compatible with existing (F-18E/F or JSF) deckload so any wings must likely fold.

You must also come up with a cheap way to produce and store the lift gas and if need be a 'charger' alternative for onboard solar capacitors to achieve weather breakout -on the way up-, assuming you choose not to make the lift gas burnable (I don't think you can afford conventional fuel weight but if you want a microfan core like the TJ-50 as an 'emergency APU' to run the fans, that's okay too).

If you can make this happen, you will have a system that is 'irreplaceable' as an ACN/ROBE type bent-pipe CDL followon comms relay. And we can talk a followon ISR scaled derivative. Because it doesn't eat into the manned system mission index and it stands as a reasonable replacement for manned platforms which will otherwise not be replaced completely if at all in kind by the KC-767 and RQ-4 (CSA is dead).

But don't try the 'blimp' approach. Because you will be giggled right outta court as soon as it becomes a question of choosing 'warfighter' (kill them) or 'utility' (maintain watch over U.S.) by a military that exists solely to serve itself.


KPl.



posted on Feb, 5 2006 @ 02:07 AM
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Also a great platform for a flying gas tank for fighters and the
like.
Similar to the movie STEALTH



posted on Feb, 5 2006 @ 03:51 AM
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hmmm.....Why just coastal? gee, whats more likely...A missile being fired at the US......OR, hundreds of illegals flooding into the US every day.

I wish the government would take illegal immagrants as serious as they do with a rogue nation with WMD.

Anywho, I like the HAA, and think its worth it. Anyone have any pics of the small demo version of it?

Heres a newer rendering of the HAA.





posted on Feb, 5 2006 @ 04:41 AM
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Agreed. The airships would be excelent for border protection especially in flat desert areas. Just add sensitive IR sensors and high resolution cameras and you will spot every illegal 30 miles away.



posted on Feb, 5 2006 @ 05:17 AM
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Murcielago,

>>
hmmm.....Why just coastal? gee, whats more likely...A missile being fired at the US......OR, hundreds of illegals flooding into the US every day.
>>

We could stop them with much the same technology as the Israeli's are using along their border with 'Free Palestine': Multibarrier Mine Trenches and High Walls. Backed by 'sensor poles'.

At half the cost.

Indeed, we already use UGS technology (camera as rock) to catch them transiting key choke points as live video. We often simply cannot get enough people there to do the job of stemming the flow.

Similarly, we have a digital database of hundreds of thousands of faces that can pick out captured illegals as 'repeat offenders' in seconds.

The real question then becomes two-fold:

1. What do you do with them?
If you don't put them up against a wall to impart a genuine fear-factor, you end up paying for their medicals until they go back and tell ALLLLLL their friends how painless the try-try again factor is. California has already proven how hispanic-sympathetic local governments can inhibit the passage of both State and National laws 'for the betterment of the majority'.

2. We live in 'service' (slave labour as opposed to slave manufacture) economy whereby many jobs are so low that Americans just don't want to do them. If we don't bring in illegals, who have 'never had it so good' our economy would have to make MAJOR investments in everything from au pair to construction to fruit picker. Creating (subidized) 'summer jobs' programs that /really/ paid teenagers with hard currency, whether they were into college or not. Going with more and more automation in agro.

And our lives would change in ways that would be both wonderful and terrible because 'AI' and 'I, Robot' have it right in illustrating a society for which no human can contribute effectively in comparison with anthropomorphic, thinking, machines. For it is clear that, despite the you're-special pablum we are fed from childhood, /at least/ 70-80% of us are only really 'gifted' enough to be cog-turners and at the rates of compensation we expect in return, there is no efficiency in capitalism.

A 'living wage' (preguaranteed housing and a guaranteed lifestyle, probably in trade for strictly regulated fertility) would in turn require that the 15-20% of each year's 'discretionary' budget that is wasted on the military be allocated to a life-values set of programs that would fundamentally alter some of the most basic principles by which our founding fathers set out the Constitution.

Some might go so far as to call it enlightened socialism. And if it worked, we'd have even more of a flooding horde of poor and shiftless.

Are you going to 'set an example' by shooting those too?

>>
I wish the government would take illegal immagrants as serious as they do with a rogue nation with WMD.
>>

We do take it seriously. There are almost certainly 'classified' segments of NAFTA and CAFTA that include specific quotas of wage slaves (drugs and a 1,001 other contraband items) that are to be 'imported' every year to assist in artifically levering up local economies. Since 'official' loans always end up horrendously wasted through the organized corruption of state rule.

Don't assume that it isn't intentional. Just be worried that it's being run by people who have no clue or care what ethno-economic strife does to an empire. Even though we have evidence going back to Rome and beyond what can happen.

>>
Anywho, I like the HAA, and think its worth it. Anyone have any pics of the small demo version of it?
>>

Be careful what you wish for. The LTA in general is completely vulnerable to any organized defense, it is only good for 'monitoring' civillian targets. If you lock your sensor systems to a certain look angle and geographic placement, you can control the extent of civil rights/privacy invasive use to which they are 'signatures only' (radar target) put to use. Similarly, if you isolate the mission to military systems which act purely to replace expensive commercial satellite use and to provide cheap standin (ocean basin wide volume airspace sanitization) alternatives to manned platforms for roles like TMD, you can control the mechanization of their development path.

But when you start putting high resolution cameras onboard while lofting them beyond the visual sighting of those they 'monitor' with an unblinking eye...

If you don't like Illegals, say so and get your representative to put forward legislation to interrupt the tide of them with more specifically appropriated as much as appropriate _law enforcement_ funding. Relative only to States with an international border. Don't endorse platform-centric 'symptomatic' cures just because you think the Goodyear Blimp looks cool.

It's just not worth the risk of empowering those who would use the tool-once-made to ends not announced but certainly envisioned at the time of their crafting.


KPl.


LINKS-
KARI
www.aerosml.com...

SKYCAT
www.worldskycat.com...

TComp
www.tcomlp.com...
www.tcomlp.com...


P.S. If you want to REALLY put a crimp in the illegals flow without 'bothering' the timid liberalists in our nation, force Mexico and China in particular to pay a 1 million dollar fine for each illegal that is caught on our soil. Or face losing MFN status for 1 month as a functional 'other imports' tariff penalty. Similarly, guarantee 10% of that as bounty to the local police departments doing the catching.

Their own governments will put such a fear of god into their people as to make them terrified of coming within 20 klicks of the border.

You can also make it a death penalty offense to pack people into the back of 100` trucks or shipping containers (or any other conditions apt to lead to inhumane treatment) for _Americans_ 'trying to do the correct thing' in reuniting families that had no right to be here to begin with.

The word could be spread through many less wasteful, Big Brother /dangerous/ methods, if we so chose.



posted on Feb, 5 2006 @ 11:54 PM
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Originally posted by ch1466
IG,
The defense industry are zombie whores, spreading their legs and gnashing their teeth at any passing contract. Willing to promise anything. Before going back to the self-deluding pretense of competing with themselves ...
KPl.

I think we're done here. Where's that ignore feature?



posted on Feb, 6 2006 @ 12:16 AM
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intelgurl, do you know of any progress in incorporating hard composits for use in Vacuum filled aerostats?

Murcielago, that is an awesome picture! I can just imagine fleets of these in the sky delivering everything from Hybrid/Electric Cars to TV's and Toasters
Sucks to be a truck driver though when these things finally start to take off for freight purposes. On the bright side it will reduce our consuption of diesel and make the roads safer.

[edit on 6-2-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Feb, 6 2006 @ 02:09 AM
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I like the pic to. But I think your confusing HAA with WALRUS.



oh, and ch1466
I'm a fan of the Israel wall...I like the way they did it...instead of pouring the cement in form where the wall will lay, they simple did a cast of one small piece of wall, and just made a bunch of copies...which greatly lowers the price tag. But Israel it tiny...the US/Mex border would be VERY expensive. and they find big tunnels quite often, so I dont know how you would solve the tunneling issue. Since ground sensors would go off far to ofter from various things like animals.

As for What to do with them, after you spot them (w/ the Airship)......I dont know...any ideas? I would think send them back to Mexico...but your right, if thats there penalty they will always keep trying. And if we say "death", and put a bullet in every illegal that wouldn't look very good since were not at war with them.

So I think mines is the best option. No walls, just signs stating that there is a 3,000 mile long mind field, and its 1 mile thick...some above ground, and below, some hidden, some in plain view, and use a variety of different ones. That way if a dozen illegals try and cross and they all die...its not your fault...They shouldn't have been there, its illegal to cross, and you posted warning signs...what more could you do.

[edit on 6-2-2006 by Murcielago]



posted on Feb, 6 2006 @ 02:13 AM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
I like the pic to. But I think your confusing HAA with WALRUS.


No I'm not(shoulda said Aerostats like these), I was mostly concentrating on the solar panels on the top. I hope the Walrus plans to incorporate them eventually.(Any word on that btw? I'm not too up to date on this topic)



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