Lockheed Martin wins airship competition
: The PV-powered helium UAV can "loiter with a 4,000lb (1,814kg) multimission payload in quasi geostationary orbit at altitudes around 65,000ft for periods much greater than contemporary unmanned air vehicles. This could be up to a month with a planned prototype unit and approaching a year for an operational variant. Yet, unlike a satellite, the airship could return to base for maintenance.
Lockheed Martin's highly autonomous, helium-filled design is 152.4m long, 48.7m in diameter, with a volume of 1.5 million m3, said Ronald Browning, the company's director of surveillance systems business development. It carries four electric motors with vectorable large twin-bladed propellers, two on each side of the vehicle [with] high strength-to-weight ratio materials for the airship's skin and thin-film photovoltaic cells to generate power [for] propulsion and the 10 kilowatts necessary to operate the airship's payload.
The company is now under a $40 million contract to mature its airship design through a critical design review in mid-2004. " 5:44:46 PM