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Stealth Blimp

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posted on May, 29 2006 @ 07:44 PM
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[ats] img145.imageshack.us...[/ats]

It might sound like a insane concept but organizations like DARPA and Lockheed Martin are looking into it. A cargo blimp could potentially expand and speed up the strategic airlift capability of the US substantially while simultaneously reducing costs. No longer would the military have to rely and be restricted to deep-water ports and slow cargo ships that today can take weeks -- even months -- to get a division and its material ready to fight.

DARPA has a current Blimp project code name -WALRUS HULA (Hybrid Ultra Large Aircraft)


The Walrus operational vehicle (OV) is intended to carry a payload of 500-1,000 tons (that's 1-2 million pounds) up to 12,000 nautical miles, in less than seven days


That would be amazing strategic airlift capability , further enhanced by the fact such a airship could operate without significant infrastructure and from unimproved landing sites, including rough ground.

Civilian companies like Germanys Cargolifter have already went on to build blimps for the purpose of lifting cargo, the CargoLifter CL 160 AKA the flying crane for example which will transport oversized loads of cargo weighing up to 160 tons.

DARPA'S WALRUS project seems to be in danger of termination. The 2007 Budget request from DARPA calls for the termination of work on WALRUS after completion of the current Phase I contracts. I will explain why I have a feeling the project may really be going black.

The biggest draw back to the Cargo blimp concept is its vulnerability. Lets face it, its while faster then a ocean cargo ship still a large slow moving target waiting for a SAM to knock it out of the sky. I'm sure we all remember the Hindenberg
.

Looking into current technology and classified military projects have lead me to believe this can be over come. As the old saying goes "You cant hit what you cant see"

Optical-Stealth

One classified project we know the government is working on is electro-optical camouflage electro-optical stealth also known as "invisibility stealth". Basically projecting a image of what's behind a object in front of it and vice versa. We don't know really how far the military project is along but we do know the concept works thanks to civilian work like that of Professor Susumu Tachi of Japan and his "Stealth Jacket" and this guy is playing with chump change compared to the DOD.

IR-Stealth/ Acoustic-Stealth

These Airships could also be made to have great "IR-Stealth" and "Acoustic- Stealth" (It wont have any hot jet exhaust) Thanks to electrical engines and the altitude it could fly at it could easily be designed to fly say 30,000 feet over your house and you would never know.

Radar stealth

So now depending on how far the electro-optical camouflage is we are very close to having a undectable Airship the last great hurdle is Radar stealth. I'm no expert in this field so I could be wrong but I think its possible to create a stealth blimp with a current stealth tech. For example with a Blimp and the speeds it will fly at you are going to have a much greater variety of shapes you can use in construction. I don't see any reason why the balloon section cant be made in a diamond shape which seems (Hopeless Diamond) to be darn near ideal for stealth.Im sure there would be other hurdles but I don't see it as a impossible problem. I know there are people on ATS that know a lot more about Stealth then me so I would love to here peoples input on the subject.

If these concepts would work this could be a very important platform, maybe even for roles beyond strategic airlift.

- Airborne radar platform or electronic warfare
- Weapons platform, Lasers like the ABL
- Perhaps even a UCAV mother ship

I mean there's a lot of lifting ability to make different variants. It clearly wouldn't be as fast as say a 747 as used in the ABL laser like I mentioned but it could be designed to have really long loiter times that may off set that.




posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:12 PM
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DARPA's WALRUS failed and was cancelled.

Shattered OUT...



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:13 PM
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Too bad the Walrus project got cancelled.

www.air-attack.com...

BTW The project didn't fail, it was canned by Congress who aren't exactly the most knowledgable bunch when it comes to things of this sort.

[edit on 29-5-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:19 PM
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It was cancelled but didn't fail? There's a contradiction.

When I said failed, didn't mean the design failed, I meant it failed to become a reality because it was cancelled.

The two tend to go together.

Shattered OUT...



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:23 PM
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He he, get a load of this:
Take a look at this... Russian Air Force shoot down 'spy blimp'
.

Apparently happened in 1990. Anything to do with any of this?



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:24 PM
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Couldn't the project being canceled simple be a cover up for it really going black? I mean if there was a current breakthrough in electro-optical stealth which would IMO work perfectly on such a platform they wouldn't keep the project White as WALRUS was. They have been very tight lipped about the advancements in optical stealth.

The fate of the WALRUS aside what do you think of the concept with the added stealth features I mentioned? Could it work? Would it be too expensive?



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:26 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
[ats] img145.imageshack.us...[/ats]

The biggest draw back to the Cargo blimp concept is its vulnerability. Lets face it, its while faster then a ocean cargo ship still a large slow moving target waiting for a SAM to knock it out of the sky. I'm sure we all remember the Hindenberg
.


Oh, I dunno, I think that if they utilized 8 or so large jet engines on a design such as the one above, it may very well be capable of 400 to 500kts at 120,000 feet or so. I would design it with larger control surfaces however.

The high operational altitude with a stealthy design such as the one pictured, would make it less susceptible to surface to air missiles. Air to air missiles are another story.




[edit on 29-5-2006 by Xenophobe]



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:32 PM
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Interesting thread watch_the_rocks thanks for posting it
I dont know how I left out a stealth blimp for a spy platform.

You mentioned the U-2 loiter time is really only limited by pilot durability with Air-to-air refueling. With a big enough blimp (still a fraction of a cargo sized one) a single pilots durability would become almost a none issue. You could have multiple crew with sleeping quarters that would work in shifts.



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by ShatteredSkies
It was cancelled but didn't fail? There's a contradiction.

When I said failed, didn't mean the design failed, I meant it failed to become a reality because it was cancelled.

The two tend to go together.

Shattered OUT...


Oh. Okay. I agree with your assessment then. Shadow is right though when he says it may have gone black like so many other stealth airframes in the past.



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 08:54 PM
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True, but sometimes I like to think my government is working for me not against me, and when they say something is cancelled, I'll take it and not question their tactics. Anything they do SHOULD be for my safety. That's a government's job, to protect it's citizens.

Now, there is always that hint of conspiracy, but I for one would rather not get tangled up in conspiracy, paranoia can get the best of a level-headed person.

Shattered OUT...



posted on May, 29 2006 @ 10:52 PM
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Originally posted by ShatteredSkies
True, but sometimes I like to think my government is working for me not against me, and when they say something is cancelled, I'll take it and not question their tactics. Anything they do SHOULD be for my safety. That's a government's job, to protect it's citizens.

Now, there is always that hint of conspiracy, but I for one would rather not get tangled up in conspiracy, paranoia can get the best of a level-headed person.

Shattered OUT...



It's fun to speculate though.



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 01:18 AM
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After reading sardion2000's post in the other thread Take a look at this... Russian Air Force shoot down 'spy blimp'

I've been thinking more about how effective a recon stealth platform this could be. A stealth neutrally buoyant aircraft or lighter then air craft could be made much smaller then the massive transport versions. It could reach amazing altitudes have long loiter times and could even be developed as a unmanned platform.

This could even be better then spy satellites. I would imagine it could be made much cheaper then a military satellite and would be able to hang above a target for long periods of time. With the exception of Geocentric satellites that's something even the best ones cant do.

If you wanted you could even develop one of these neutrally buoyant aircraft with a ionic propulsion device if you wanted complete acoustic stealth. Though I would imagine you would need a small nuclear reactor if you wanted to do that.



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 02:59 AM
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Stealth Blimb is an exellent idea... I proposed one at Planemans UAV thread a while ago


www.abovetopsecret.com...

It offers plenty advantages, specially in low intensity conflict. Long loitering observation/recon platform is ideally suited to monitor insurgent activity. With Mini hellfire sized weapons, a single blimb could cover a large area and render it unusable for any insurgent activity



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 04:22 PM
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Originally posted by northwolf
It offers plenty advantages, specially in low intensity conflict. Long loitering observation/recon platform is ideally suited to monitor insurgent activity. With Mini hellfire sized weapons, a single blimb could cover a large area and render it unusable for any insurgent activity


Additionally, the ability of an airship to hover over an area for an indefinite period of time would make it an ideal platform for non-lethal weapons such as: the Active Denial System (ADS), the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), or Laser Dazzler Weapons.



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
I've been thinking more about how effective a recon stealth platform this could be. A stealth neutrally buoyant aircraft or lighter then air craft could be made much smaller then the massive transport versions. It could reach amazing altitudes have long loiter times and could even be developed as a unmanned platform.


Fully loaded, it should be just below the Neutral Boyancy point at Denver altitude. Have it use STOL with ducted fan/jet technology, as many as needed depending on the size of the vehicle, and just make it fly like a conventional aircraft relying more on thrust and aerodynamics then the actual weight(though that will be a HUGE factor still and will cut down fuel consumption by a great degree). Perhaps we could also concoct a system of infatable gasbags on the bottom to fill will Helium, stored in a compressed state on board, as an emergency measure to increase boyancy when the main lifting cells are damaged or even to cushon a hard landing if the damage is more extensive.



This could even be better then spy satellites. I would imagine it could be made much cheaper then a military satellite and would be able to hang above a target for long periods of time. With the exception of Geocentric satellites that's something even the best ones cant do.


Lets conceptualize one in our heads for a second. Imagine a rough triangular shaped craft roughly 30m square (Length and Width) x 1.2m Average Height shaped in a flying wing with extensive stealth charactistics. It will more resemble the B-2 then anything we have currently. It's belly and back is skinned with Photoreceptor/recievers Apples New All Seeing Screen technology to both project and receive spectral data it's equiped to recieve(IR to UV would be the best coverage IMO) to create an optical stealth, it will have a low RCS, the top is also equipped with highly efficient Solar panels that has somehow been impregnated into the Camo skin to provide power to highly efficient, low thrust turbine engines. These engines will be very small and will be built into it in such a way as to reduce detectability. Supercapacitors will store energy needed when night comes to keep it stationary and run all the various camera's, transmitters, etc. thats on board. I wouldn't be surprised if they are working on it right now.



If you wanted you could even develop one of these neutrally buoyant aircraft with a ionic propulsion device if you wanted complete acoustic stealth. Though I would imagine you would need a small nuclear reactor if you wanted to do that.


Nuke reactor is not needed as thrust is not proportional to power imput, it's proportional to the airgap of the electrodes. A diesel engine could do it. Though the larger it gets the more power is needed. I would like to see a superconducting version of this technology. Would be a neat experiment to conduct when true room-temp superconducting wire comes on the market.(20-30 years pessimistically speaking)o



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 05:37 PM
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i was always of the opinion that the source of the phoenix lights could have been a variation of this type of craft...if it was of terrestrial origin at all....



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 10:44 PM
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I have to admit that just reading the title of this thread makes me chuckle. "Stealth Blimp" seems like such an oxymoron. It's huge, slow, and painfully easy to smite with a SAM. The exact opposite of modern-day fighter planes to which we are accustomed.

Nothing like a blast from the past, eh?



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 10:54 PM
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Not all blimps look like "blimps".

This is a design I've been toying with since the USAF wrecked the last project I worked on. I call it "ALPHA".


[img]http://www.msnusers.com/n00lvpd72c8akigvnihc726a85/Documents/ALPHA%20Stealth%20JPG1.jpg[/url][/img]


The Lift cells employ the same material NASA uses for its Long Duration Balloons. The bouyency controls are all computerized, employing electro-reactive "artificial muscle-like" polymer fibers which expand/contract in response to electric currents applied to them. Contraction would squeeze the lift cell, increasing internal pressure on the lift gas, making it denser and thus less bouyant; release would allow the gas to expand, becoming less dense and generating more lift. This would allow the craft to drop/gain altitude and correct for pitch and roll.

The perimeter and payload support frames are pre-stressed carbon fiber tubes. Employing sort of an isometric "stress/counter-stress" principle, the frame works like opposing elliptical "leaf" or cart springs to provide strength and rigidity with minimum material weight.

Motive power is provided by idependently fully pivoting electric ducted-fan motors, utilizing quiet, low-speed props optimized for extreme high-altitude performance and based on a design employed by NASA's Helios project.

ALPHA is an LTA/UAV, capable of automonous opertion and multi-function, multi-mission configuration, although recon/long duration surveillence is its primary design goal.

[edit on 30-5-2006 by Bhadhidar]


[edit on 30-5-2006 by Bhadhidar]

[edit on 30-5-2006 by Bhadhidar]



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 11:32 PM
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While the WALRUS is cancelled, The Army has something thats simular to it, called Mobilus.


Its possable that is went black...but since its just a cargo mover I dont really see why...?

The HAA, would make more sense to go black..but it isn't.

I'm sure stealth blimps arn't that far off. This article kind of has one, its basically just for advertising...but its a big bendable tv, so if the whole craft was covered by it, and had cameras to show the other side off it, then it could be optically stealthy.

Flying Billboard



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
Radar stealth
So now depending on how far the electro-optical camouflage is we are very close to having a undectable Airship the last great hurdle is Radar stealth. I'm no expert in this field so I could be wrong but I think its possible to create a stealth blimp with a current stealth tech. For example with a Blimp and the speeds it will fly at you are going to have a much greater variety of shapes you can use in construction. I don't see any reason why the balloon section cant be made in a diamond shape which seems (Hopeless Diamond) to be darn near ideal for stealth.Im sure there would be other hurdles but I don't see it as a impossible problem. I know there are people on ATS that know a lot more about Stealth then me so I would love to here peoples input on the subject.


Actually you don't need to care about radar stalth. Even todays blimps skin is TRANSPARENT for radar waves - it doesn't need any special shape, because the waves go "through it". The only thing you need to make stealth are engines and gondola.

But blimps as spy platforms suck, sorry guys. You need a HUGE blimp to go higher than 10 000 meters. Such beast is very visible, it's no problem to shoot it down. And you cannot make it optically invisible because such stalth skin weights too much. Of course over friendly (or conquered) territory blimps rock. They're cheap and can stay in air for a lot of time. They would be great to guard US-Mexico border for example. Just add high resolution cameras and powerfull IR detectors amd NO ONE will cross the border illegally.






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