reply to post by danx
Danx, you might want to take a look at my post back on page 11 of this thread.
Lighter-than-Air-Vehicles (LAV's) don't necessarily have to be "blimp"-shaped.
Ours looks more like a "Flying Wing".
And LAV's aren't limited to operations at high (or low) altitudes, either.
Depending on its design, an LAV can fly at any altitude an airplane can; and then some (140,000+ Ft currently).
Work is being done now to develop LAV's that can even fly from 100KFT to Earth orbit, and back.
And, as I pointed out in my prior post, if you could develop a light enough, rigid enough "skinning" material, the reduced mass of an aerodynamic
LAV would make supersonic operations not only possible, but economical as well.
And yes, work is also currently being done on an "Airship" capable of Hypersonic
flight in the extreme upper atmosphere.
And let us not forget that, just because one development program (Lockheed/Martin's HAA) has been cancelled by one branch of the armed services, it
means that the Concept
itself has been completely shelved by ALL
branches of the entire government.
The project we worked on for the USAF is still being worked, even after the termination of the contract.
At least, that's the scuttlebutt we've heard.