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Take a look at this... Russian Air Force shoot down 'spy blimp'.

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posted on May, 29 2006 @ 03:20 PM
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www.acig.org...

Text only but very interesting.... a spy blimp close enough for the Russians to shoot down...Any one got any ideas of what this might of been? Any info appreciated.

This is actually a pretty nifty web page with some very interesting piccies and links on it!

(Scroll down to the botom entry and its there...nato / CIA spy blimp...

[edit on 29/5/06 by MadGreebo]




posted on May, 29 2006 @ 04:44 PM
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Intresting, intresting . . . There was an old U.S.A.F. program called GENETRIX that used camera-carrying balloons to spy on the Soviet Union before the U-2 came along, but that was in the early 50's. Who the hell was using a blimp in 1990? And why?

They are a slow, highly observable, massive target; slow to turn, must generally follow air currents to get anywhere in the in same year they took off, and - I dunno, but I doubt the the CIA and/or? NATO would use a blimp. A jet powered recon aircraft would do much better, I would say.



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 05:15 PM
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Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
Intresting, intresting . . . There was an old U.S.A.F. program called GENETRIX that used camera-carrying balloons to spy on the Soviet Union before the U-2 came along, but that was in the early 50's. Who the hell was using a blimp in 1990? And why?

They are a slow, highly observable, massive target; slow to turn, must generally follow air currents to get anywhere in the in same year they took off, and - I dunno, but I doubt the the CIA and/or? NATO would use a blimp. A jet powered recon aircraft would do much better, I would say.



Jet powered recon craft, unless specifically designed for stealth, are easy to track. If designed for stealth, such vehicles are terribly expensive, and require years of development, design, and testing, not to mention the elaborate infrastructure each new "black ops" program requires just to function.

A spy blimp would have several advantages over a spy sat, or even a spy plane/UAV. Take a look at the following article:

www.spyflight.co.uk...

Spy blimps can loiter over a target much longer than either sats or other "propelled" UAV's. Blimps are less expensive to build and operate and require less fuel and logistical support to accomplish their missions, therefore further extending the mission. Blimps can be made of radar-invisible materials; in fact light-weight composites are key to long duration blimp flights.

Flying at higher altitudes than most other aircraft (80-100K feet) allow blimps a greater coverage area.

And even their relatively slow airspeed provides an advantage; something that is hard to spot high in the atmosphere and moving very slowly, if at all, is more likely to go un-noticed by military observers trained to be on the look-out for more "conventional" aircraft.



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 06:36 PM
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I disagree. A fixed wing aircraft is the best photographic intelligence gathering platform available at this time. The U-2 can loiter (always that word
) over the target area for much longer, can go much farther much faster. The pilots have ultimate discretion for where they go - unlike blimps, which have a few props pushing a massive envelope - and can switch between mission priorities like that if required. Target's 300 km to the north now? Sure, I'll be there soon.

Blimps may have their up side, such as logististics support, but that is all back-line stuff. What really matters is what the intel-gathering platform can do, how well it can perform. A U-2 has a range of 3, 500 miles straight flying. It can also glide like a sailplane over its target - limited only by pilot durability - and is one of the easiest aircraft to maintain (ignore the sump tanks for now, huh? lol). Air-to-air refueling capabilities can let it fly around the circumference of the world, for buttons sake. I remember a report of a U-2 that spent one entire day over Baghdad, moving freely from one end of the city to the other photographing military developments as they happened. You can't get much better than that.

This is all not to mention the Global Hawk, which is essentially another glider with an engine strapped on. There is no weak human on board that plane. Fully autonomous, it can be equipped for any sort of mission, and is able to stay above the deck for hours and hours on end, gliding on air currents to send real time imagery back to HQ.

Now admittedly a blimp has real time as well, and is also able to stay above one place for hours, but I think what really matters is operational flexibility, i.e. one aircraft able to switch between targets quickly.

And I don't believe that a blimp could be made invisible to radar.
Yes, possibly you could reduce its RCS with special materials, but up there, against the empty backdrop of space, even the engines would appear on any half-decent radar. And almost all countries these days have Russian radars, and believe me when I say they are well beyond half decent -- in the good way.

Oh, and I can't help but notice the blimp was taken down by UPK-23-250 23 mm cannon fire by an Su-15. The TM (the variant that shot down the blimp) has a maximum ceiling of under 66, 000 feet. What's a blimp doing down there, if it can fly so high? A U-2 can reach 75, 000 feet easy as you like, and no crappy little gun pod is going to shoot it down. Those pilots know how to fly.
Could you imagine the blimp captain? "Uhh, yeah, I see it. Commencing evasive maneuvers . . . now." And the airship ever so slowly turns about 4 degrees in the time it takes the Ruskie pilot to select GUNS and engage the craft. Oh, yay. I really wanna fly in one of those things.



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:40 PM
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Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
Intresting, intresting . . . There was an old U.S.A.F. program called GENETRIX that used camera-carrying balloons to spy on the Soviet Union before the U-2 came along, but that was in the early 50's. Who the hell was using a blimp in 1990? And why?

They are a slow, highly observable, massive target; slow to turn, must generally follow air currents to get anywhere in the in same year they took off, and - I dunno, but I doubt the the CIA and/or? NATO would use a blimp. A jet powered recon aircraft would do much better, I would say.


A Blimp, you would be completely correct, yet there is a class of nearly neutrally boyant aircraft that resemble zeppelines, yet also take advantage of aerodynamics to navigate with the addition of wing-like protrusions. It was on the Walrus project I believe. As for the highly observability of these types of aircraft, it all depends on how it was designed and what methods it uses for lift. In a hybrid design using both flying wing characteristics and Vacuum cells contained within a superlight, yet rigid enough container to keep its rigidity at sea level. Such an Airframe could be made so light it will be almost neutrally boyant when fully loaded and will float when it's completely unloaded so it would need to be tethered down. It can be made any size and shape so a giant flying wing for cargo or a smaller SUV sized recon platform is definately not out of the question. As for speed, on the larger ones you could put simple jet engines at strategic points, could even get the suckers supersonic, if we have the materials that can withstand those forces however is another question. Don't underestimate the power of the Vacuum.


Also the maximum ceiling for these craft is about the Stratosphere, and it could be possibly higher for all I know.

[edit on 29-5-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 12:27 PM
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Dang! I need to hang around here more often.

You might want to check out this thread over at the UFO forum (yeah, I know, but bear with me a moment); it's a bit wordy, but I've been coming at the idea from the other end around: that the USAF has been flying blimps for the CIA, possibly ever since 1947, and that many of our UFO sightings since then have been covert airships.

Naturally, I'm very interested in whatever gets dug up.

Looks like a promising new avenue for research. Anyone got the address of the Russian AF Public Affairs office handy?



posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 01:53 PM
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Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
I disagree. A fixed wing aircraft is the best photographic intelligence gathering platform available at this time. The U-2 can loiter (always that word
) over the target area for much longer, can go much farther much faster.

K-Class blimps (US Navy WWII models) had "normal" time aloft of 8 hours, but could go for up to 48 hours if necessary, and that's without refueling. The longest non-stop for a USN airship was 11 days, across the Atlantic to Europe, Africa, and back. At-sea refueling was tested very early on, and aerial refueling was being considered in the 50s if not before.

Faster is no dispute, but does faster matter if the enemy has even faster jets or faster missiles?


The pilots have ultimate discretion for where they go - unlike blimps, which have a few props pushing a massive envelope - and can switch between mission priorities like that if required. Target's 300 km to the north now? Sure, I'll be there soon.

I read an account of an actual U-2 mission a while back; maybe I can find the link. Anyway, what struck me was that the pilot had some leeway, depending on cloud cover, and had secondary targets in case the primary was clouded over, and could take evasive action if fired on and he noticed it, BUT, all the missions were canned. That is, the approach, flight level, flight path, etc., were fixed and could not be changed; the pilot was pretty much a one-gee target for the entire run. And there were no last-minute changes, because radio silence was strictly maintained.


I don't believe that a blimp could be made invisible to radar.

Blimps are inherently nearly invisible to radar; despite being aluminum-colored, the aluminum on the old blimps' envelopes is dispersed and doesn't form a conductive skin. You'd need a radar pulse somewhere in the micron range to get a good return, and that doesn't penetrate clouds too well (see below). The rest of the envelope is pretty much organic and synthetic-hydrocarbon materials. That just leaves the gondola and engine nacells, which could be brought within the envelope (and some were) as radar technology became more sophisticated.


Yes, possibly you could reduce its RCS with special materials...

Fiberglass and carbon-rich coverings were not exotic materials on the old airships; can we assume that technology didn't stand still?


What's a blimp doing down there, if it can fly so high?

1. Blimps need massive quantities of water; it is often the limiting factor on the length of a mission. Some may have had regenerators, like the older rigid airships, which reclaim water from engine exhaust (and look like windows...hmmm, huge silver cigar-shaped objects with windows...do you suppose?) but they still have to come down occasionally to get a drink.
2. The best place to hide would be just under a cloud bank, especially if it were going in your direction anyway. And it's the best place to get cloud-free pics of the surface.
3. The higher you fly, the less ballast you carry, and it's harder to get back down.
4. VFR


It's actually hard to shoot down a blimp, it seems. Bullets and shells just pass right through the envelope, leaving minor holes which are easily patched. The lift-gas bag(s) are at nearly atmospheric pressure, so the helium doesn't come out very fast. Military blimps carried patching kits, and the crew could and did crawl up through the envelope (and even over; that must have been a trip!) and repaired leaks while underway.

If you hit the gondola and kill the crew, but don't hit the gas tanks (which are probably half-full of water anyway) , the blimp will just keep floating along for a very long time. Hit the ballast/fuel tanks and the thing may actually rise.



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