Military Review

The program of US military airships "blown away"

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At the end of 2000, the Pentagon managed to spend almost 7 billions of dollars on a rather ambitious program to develop new-generation airships for military use. However, as a result, none of the promising designs were adopted by the US Army. Once upon a time, at the dawn of aeronautics, airships seemed to people one of the most reliable and promising means of cargo delivery, as well as reconnaissance and bombardment from a height. Their real flourishing came in the years of the First World War, but the 6 disaster of May 1937 of the German airship Hindenburg actually put an end to the development of these technologies.


At the same time, the idea of ​​developing a new generation of helium airships, which could not catch fire the way it did with the Hindenburg, appeared a long time ago, although the next large-scale attempt to rehabilitate airships by the US military seems to have failed. According to the publication The Defense News, starting from 2007 and 2012, the Pentagon spent the year on the development of various airships 7 billion dollars. At the same time, technical failures and reductions in the defense budget show us that the task of developing new airships was not so easy to cope with even with a substantial amount of funding.

One of the largest US failures was the LEMV military airship, the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle, which was commissioned by the American ground forces. It was assumed that this airship will become the main means of reconnaissance for the US military, as well as a universal means of communication. The project was launched in 2010, with an eye to the fact that after 1,5, the first LEMV airships could be used in Afghanistan.
The program of US military airships "blown away"
Lemv

The development of a military airship LEMV was engaged in the famous company Northrop Grumman. The airship even managed to make its first test flight, which indicates the achievement of some success in the implementation of this program. According to available information, it was assumed that the LEMV airship could be at 21 days at an altitude of approximately 6 kilometers above sea level. All this was supposed to lead to significant savings. Each departure of aircraft for reconnaissance costs the American taxpayers 10-30 thousands of dollars, while the airship could be in the sky during 21 day for the same money.

However, at the implementation stage, the project encountered technical difficulties. Northrop Grumman's specialists failed to make the LEMV airship as light as it was originally intended. For this reason, as well as due to gas leaks through its envelope, the airship can really stay no more than 5-6 days in the sky, and this despite years of hard work and huge investments: according to various sources, the project was spent on 356 to 517 million dollars. The LEMV development program has been discontinued. At the same time, the military sold the apparatus already produced, which participated in the test flights, back to the manufacturer. The unit cost Northrop Grumman a 301 thousand dollars. Compare this amount with the cost of this project.

The cancellation of work on the LEMV project was already the third unsuccessful attempt by the US military to revive military airships. In 2012, the development program for the interests of the US Navy airship MZ-3A was frozen, and at the very beginning of 2013, another project disappeared from the US Air Force budget - the TCOM Blue Devil 2 airship. The last airship, the creation of which was spent 115 million dollars, could not even rise into the air due to the preponderance. Funding for the Blue Devil 2 project was halted in June 2012.

According to the project, the Blue Devil II airship was an aircraft with a payload capacity of 1,13 tons. The development of this model of the airship involved the company MAV6, with which the Pentagon entered into a contract in October 2010. The formal reason for the completion of the financing of the project was the protracted process of developing the apparatus. The airship was supposed to begin the test program and combat use in Afghanistan in February 2012, but could not even make the first flight. In addition, the cost of the project has increased almost 2 times. Initially, the US military planned to spend on its creation the amount of 86 million dollars.
Blue devil ii

However, this project is not so bad. Blue Devil II was to be the 2 airship, which was created as part of the Blue Devil project. Its closest relative - Blue Devil I, distinguished by its smaller size and, accordingly, carrying capacity, is used by the American army in Afghanistan. The airship is used to monitor the terrain and conduct reconnaissance, and also plays the role of means of electronic intelligence.

The work on the development of the HALE-D high-altitude airship, which was created for the needs of the American missile defense system, ended in failure. It was assumed that this airship can be placed at an altitude of about 18 thousands of meters above sea level. He had to solve the problem of coordinating the launch of missiles of the missile defense system. But during the execution of its first flight in 2011, the airship just crashed. As a result of the crash of the airship, no one died, but the fall of the car on the trees brought down its solar panels, which were the main “chip” of the project.

The airship HALE-D was an unmanned aerial vehicle that was controlled from the ground. He could for a long time be at a height of thousands of meters 18,5, while the equipment installed on the airship was powered by solar panels, which were installed in its upper part. According to the creators, the airship HALE-D could fly above the turbojet aircraft, and also hang at one point for a long time. To do this, there are special motors on it, with which he can constantly adjust his position. This allows the device to freely observe an area of ​​approximately 1000 square. kilometers, playing the role of a means of warning of a rocket attack, carrying out the seizure of targets, watching the terrain, doing exploration and monitoring of nature and solving other problems.
HALE-D

Reducing the amount of budget funding may also affect the project of the promising airship Aeroscraft (Aeroscraft) - a prototype of a new generation airship capable of lifting cargo weighing up to 66 tons into the air. For the first time, its prototype rose to the sky in January of this year, but the future of the project today is questionable. Initially, the project was planned to be financed with funds from the Walrus HULA pilot project, which was supervised by DARPA. But this project was stopped in 2010 year. After that, the creators of the airship Aeroscraft were forced to seek private investors.

It is worth noting that private investors are not yet eager to invest their own money in the project of airships of a new generation. The most risky from this point of view are the projects to create military airships. However, it is premature to write off these aircraft from the accounts: the emergence of new technologies and the potential reduction in the cost of helium production may allow the design of sufficiently effective airships of a new generation that can extend the data age of aircraft.

Information sources:
http://rus.ruvr.ru/2013_10_28/Amerikanskie-voennie-dirizhabli-sdulis-8117
http://www.dailytechinfo.org/military/4563-otmenena-programma-po-razrabotke-voennyh-dirizhabley-lemv.html
http://rrdlab.com/vvs-ssha-zakryli-proekt-bolshogo-dirizhablya
http://www.computerra.ru/15515/dirizhabl-hale-d-deshyovaya-zamena-sputniku
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  1. Su-9
    Su-9 12 November 2013 08: 31 New
    0
    The program was blown away. Like any soap bubble. On the deriban, of course, some earned candy wrappers.
    I hope all sane people will reject the idea of ​​combat airships as absolutely utopian at this stage. On the ax there was an article about the Russian airship. I hope it will not be spent a single ruble from the treasury.
    1. Professor
      Professor 12 November 2013 09: 57 New
      +4
      Quote: Su-9
      The program was blown away. Like any soap bubble.

      Do not read Soviet newspapers before dinner.

      The bourgeois airships are already in service.

      Key West, FL (23 April 2013-th) TIF-25 tethered aerostat is deployed on the Swift military transport high-speed ship (HSV 2) to test and evaluate the possibilities of using it at sea in future US 4 fleet in fight against international organized crime. (Photo by Lieutenant Korey Becker (Corey Barker), US Navy)

      1. Aryan
        Aryan 12 November 2013 12: 37 New
        +5
        we will be more frank
        not blown away
        and came across laughing
      2. Su-9
        Su-9 12 November 2013 19: 43 New
        +4
        Professor, it's you in vain. HSV 2 is the same warship as Abramovich’s yacht. A TIF-25K tethered pilot balloon is not a serial airship.
        Accepting your irony, all the same it is not necessary to hold all for idiots.
        For example, the IDF is dealing with this topic? No. And why - because your perfectly sane leadership understands that the combat stability of these bubbles tends to zero.
        1. Professor
          Professor 12 November 2013 21: 17 New
          +2
          Quote: Su-9
          Professor, it's you in vain. HSV 2 is the same warship as Abramovich’s yacht. A TIF-25K tethered pilot balloon is not a serial airship.


          1. This boat is officially armed.
          2. The balloon is mass-produced and has long been in service
          TIF-25K TETHERED AEROSTAT

          Quote: Su-9
          For example, the IDF is dealing with this topic? No.

          Not just engaged, but also used for many years.
          Balloon hanging over Gaza, hang over Afghanistan


          State of emergency on the border with Gaza: an aerostat of observation dropped anchor and carried away towards the sector

          Quote: Su-9
          And why - because your perfectly sane leadership understands that the combat stability of these bubbles tends to zero.

          Guess three times why Hamas did not bring him down for so many years. wink
          1. Aryan
            Aryan 13 November 2013 04: 20 New
            0
            "Guess three times why the Hamas did not shoot him down for so many years."

            guess what
            all three times throwing stones at him ended badly
            stones returned back to starting positions laughing

            and that another time the airship does not break from the anchor
            you must immediately make it lead or concrete
            then finally you don’t need an anchor hi
            Yes, and the Alahakbarites themselves will pray
            so that such a fool does not fall on their sector belay
        2. Basarev
          Basarev 3 February 2014 21: 51 New
          0
          A soft airship and an all-metal one are not synonyms!
  2. Nayhas
    Nayhas 12 November 2013 08: 33 New
    +4
    The airship as a means of reconnaissance noticeably loses UAVs in speed and visibility, which is important. Therefore, the prospect of an airship as a scout was initially vague. As a transporter, it’s quite suitable, but instead of helium, it’s better to switch to hydrogen or a mixture of helium hydrogen, but for the United States with its developed road network this is not relevant, it would be suitable for the north. As an aid to air defense, the airship is noticeably inferior in this to balloons, they are cheaper and more practical. Say that money wasted? Perhaps, but they will still be returned to them in the future, and the experience gained will be very useful.
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 12 November 2013 08: 57 New
      +4
      This is not a matter of the balloons themselves, but of the overestimated requirements for the composition of the equipment. They simply overload them, and cannot solve the technical problems that arise because of this.
      1. Nayhas
        Nayhas 12 November 2013 15: 33 New
        +2
        Quote: Spade
        They simply overload them, and cannot solve the technical problems that arise because of this.

        Helium is simply not suitable for aeronautics. Better not to come up with hydrogen. Yes, it is explosive, but I'm sorry in the yard, it is clearly not the 30s of the 20th century. Yes, and at the expense of explosiveness. I remember the first time I saw a photo of the Hindenburg disaster, I was horrified about the fate of the passengers and crew, there was no doubt that everyone burned in hellish fire, what was my surprise when I found out that out of 97 people, only 35 died! Even with an eye on explosiveness, what prevents us from making airships non-manned, purely cargo? The Americans certainly do not need this, but in our open spaces ...
        1. Lopatov
          Lopatov 12 November 2013 18: 43 New
          +1
          If someone is trying to install a supercomputer capable of processing a bunch of intelligence on the airship without leaving the box office, then I don’t think replacing helium with hydrogen will help with something. It’s easier to replace the brains of generals. Or the generals themselves.
          1. Nayhas
            Nayhas 12 November 2013 19: 33 New
            +1
            Quote: Spade
            If someone is trying to install a supercomputer capable of processing a bunch of intelligence on the airship without leaving the box office, then I don’t think replacing helium with hydrogen will help with something. It’s easier to replace the brains of generals. Or the generals themselves.

            Of course, the military does not need airships very much, but it’s indispensable as a vehicle for our north.
    2. abrakadabre
      abrakadabre 12 November 2013 10: 54 New
      +2
      Having a high windage and a low relative rigidity of the structure, the airship needs a high power ratio for standing at one point. And this is the loss in the payload.
      For a flight from point A to point B, everything is simpler. And therefore cheaper.
      1. Aryan
        Aryan 13 November 2013 05: 18 New
        +1
        Israel's climate is not so "sky-high"
        and the deterrent factor probably also plays a role

        it's one thing to know what the invisible punishing "Zionist eye" is
        and it’s a completely different matter when you constantly see him in the sky
        think a thousand times
        to shoot with a sewer pipe with gunpowder or not
        recourse
        1. Aryan
          Aryan 13 November 2013 05: 40 New
          0
          and on the other hand cylinders over Israel
          Not a pious occupation
          The homeland is prevented from seeing and the chosen people hi
  3. Nayhas
    Nayhas 12 November 2013 08: 33 New
    +2
    The airship as a means of reconnaissance noticeably loses UAVs in speed and visibility, which is important. Therefore, the prospect of an airship as a scout was initially vague. As a transporter, it’s quite suitable, but instead of helium, it’s better to switch to hydrogen or a mixture of helium hydrogen, but for the United States with its developed road network this is not relevant, it would be suitable for the north. As an aid to air defense, the airship is noticeably inferior in this to balloons, they are cheaper and more practical. Say that money wasted? Perhaps, but they will still be returned to them in the future, and the experience gained will be very useful.
  4. 528Obrp
    528Obrp 12 November 2013 10: 31 New
    +2
    With the huge advantage of airships in carrying capacity over airplanes, they have one "very little" disadvantage. Airships are not a means guaranteed delivery of goods. The reason is the huge windage (hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of square meters.) he will deliver the goods if there is no wind, no thunderstorm, no icing, and even wet cladding with a large area is a problem. The slightest wind makes the airship maneuver, consuming fuel and making cargo delivery time unpredictable. The airship is good for traveling or as a fixed hanging platform.

    PS
    Helium, by the way, is very fluid
    1. pensioner
      pensioner 12 November 2013 12: 36 New
      +3
      Quote: 528Obrp
      Helium, by the way, is very fluid

      That's for sure. As my head of the department used to say: "Keeping helium in a container is even more difficult than a good soap in your hands under the shower." Superfluid contagion. Once I watched a program about airships. A. Gorodnitsky led. "If the future of airships" was called. Now I have not found where to look. Anyone interested - look. Very informative.
    2. AVV
      AVV 12 November 2013 12: 52 New
      +5
      Helium is flowing, therefore multilayer rubberized shells are used for it, and the airship for our non-aircraft-carrying cruisers, which are not expensive, as target indicators, is even very necessary as a backup channel, satellite, the helicopters that are available cannot constantly hang over the ship, and the fuel burns a lot, so the Americans are not stupid, simply. technically and financially they could not finish the project !!! And the third eye is very necessary, to see the targets at a distance of up to 600 km !!!
      1. 528Obrp
        528Obrp 12 November 2013 16: 05 New
        +1
        Quote: AVV
        the helicopters that are available cannot constantly hang over the ship, and the fuel burns a lot

        A balloon with a stable platform is enough to just hang over the ship. A cable and a ball with a platform and all.
  5. vovich
    vovich 12 November 2013 10: 40 New
    +1
    Quote: Nayhas
    But instead of helium, it’s better to switch to hydrogen

    Well ... the Hindenburg experience says that hydrogen is far from the safest filler.
    1. Patton5
      Patton5 12 November 2013 14: 18 New
      +2
      Aircraft carry a huge amount of kerosene, not the safest liquid ....
    2. Nayhas
      Nayhas 12 November 2013 15: 38 New
      +1
      Quote: vovich
      Quote: Nayhas
      But instead of helium, it’s better to switch to hydrogen

      Well ... the Hindenburg experience says that hydrogen is far from the safest filler.

      Compare how many died in Hindenburg with some sort of plane crash. Of 97 people, 35 died. In addition, in those days, airplanes were not particularly reliable and fell much more often, because there was such a level of technology, the nose is not the beginning of the 20th century right?
    3. Yon_Silent
      Yon_Silent 12 November 2013 22: 19 New
      0
      Currently, methods have been developed to reduce the explosiveness of hydrogen. Inhibitors are used in the form of a certain amount of a propane-butane mixture (as in a lighter) or water vapor. Dangerous, in fact, is not hydrogen itself, but its mixture with oxygen - the well-known explosive gas. And the use of hydrogen in aeronautics is very tempting, because its cost compared to helium is scanty. Yes, and the headache of aerosensors is the need to release gas after completion of work ... literally millions to the wind.
      And what about the "simplicity and cheapness" of the use of airships, does anyone imagine what an airship parking looks like? How much space does he need on the ground and how big is the mooring mast? Or how does it moor? And how the electric charge is removed from it (yes, yes, the shell is electrified from the boundary layer and you don't need to touch it with your hands!)
      Confused pictures of airships in flight, it seems that nothing more for these beauties and do not need-I sat down and flew. Often, troubles and overhead above the roof.
  6. Marek Rozny
    Marek Rozny 12 November 2013 11: 07 New
    +3
    Money, kanesh, was spent with a bang, but it is clear that the money was really spent on research and prototypes, and not just carried out an imitation of violent activity.
    Airships have potential strengths that cannot yet be fully disclosed, but are still ahead. Who knows, maybe some company will finally find the concept of a successful airship and then we will get a cheap transporter.
  7. Dimy4
    Dimy4 12 November 2013 11: 08 New
    +4
    The guys from the Pentagon, skillfully unwinding the Senate, earned a little dough on these bubbles for bread and butter with these bubbles. good
    1. Basarev
      Basarev 3 February 2014 21: 56 New
      0
      Yes, well done Nortopovtsy. Super-colorful posters clumsy, knocked out hundreds of lyamas and pushed a film bag in the final.
  8. USNik
    USNik 12 November 2013 12: 28 New
    0
    Of all the airships listed, only Aeroscraft airship-aircraft capable of hardly pulling 1 Abrashu looks promising. In all other cases, reconnaissance UAVs win.
  9. Backfire
    Backfire 12 November 2013 18: 43 New
    +3
    The Hindenburg was fueled with hydrogen, not because the Germans did not understand the benefits of helium, but because America refused to sell them helium. Now with helium, especially in America, there are no problems.

    The airship does not need airfields - this is one of the most important advantages. Small landing sites will do.
    When delivering goods, speed is not as important as in passenger transport - another niche for airships.

    For military purposes - a platform "hanging" at an altitude of 15-20 km for several days with late charging from solar panels. Purpose: intelligence, communications. Communication will be unambiguously cheaper than satellite, allowing everyone to exchange data in real time, down to an individual soldier, and, moreover, a stable connection - a repeater "overhead" in the line of sight, folds of terrain do not interfere. Even taking into account the possible losses of several pieces (the enemies will naturally try to shoot them down), there are still more "pluses".
  10. Yarik
    Yarik 12 November 2013 20: 05 New
    +1
    I am not a meteorologist, but it looks like this: at an altitude of 10-12-15 km. atmospheric disturbances should not especially affect the area of ​​sailing. I do not argue, maybe I'm mistaken.
  11. Svetlana
    Svetlana 12 November 2013 20: 54 New
    0
    It is a hybrid of a coaxial helicopter and a thermal airship hybrid with a nuclear power plant, moreover, the air cushion can serve as the lower coaxial screw
  12. uzer 13
    uzer 13 12 November 2013 21: 10 New
    +1
    The airships that appeared at the beginning of the 20th century were and remain promising aircraft. They were ruined by the use of hydrogen, which did not want to make friends with static electricity, as well as the habit borrowed from the Russians for hoping for chance. You can get hydrogen wherever there is an electric bulb, this simple and cheap (if you do not include here the cost of the lives of the dead passengers of airships). Helium can only be obtained at air separation units, which are used in industry to produce oxygen as an accompanying product.
    Nowadays there are no problems with helium. You just need to make a good shell and the airship will be created. In the middle layers of the atmosphere there are air currents that practically do not change directions. If you draw maps indicating the heights and directions of these flows, we can talk about the practical application of airships .
    1. uzer 13
      uzer 13 12 November 2013 23: 10 New
      0
      I also found a poster from the time of early socialism.
  13. Turkestan
    Turkestan 12 November 2013 21: 55 New
    +1
    The only use in the military field of airships is airborne obstruction of military facilities, cities, industrial facilities. Cheap, reliable, efficient. Examples of WWII. As for civilian use, when using solar panels to power marching and stabilizing electric motors on airships of various classes, a DECENT AIRCRAFT can be obtained,
    1. Turkestan
      Turkestan 12 November 2013 22: 13 New
      0
      The only use in the military field of airships is airborne obstruction of military facilities, cities, industrial facilities. Cheap, reliable, efficient. Examples of WWII. As for civilian use, when using solar panels to power marching and stabilizing electric motors on airships of various classes, a DECENT AIRCRAFT can be obtained.
  14. poquello
    poquello 12 November 2013 22: 51 New
    +4
    I do not believe that beauty has no future.
    "AU-30. 10-seater (2 people crew + 8 passengers) multipurpose soft airship AU-30, created by" Avgur Aeronautical Center ", is a really serious achievement not only for domestic but, probably, for world blimp construction. - one of the world's largest blimps, which is on a par with the best foreign devices of this class.
    The development and production of this airship took the company 3,5 years. Such well-known Russian enterprises of the aerospace industry as MAI, NPO im. Lavochkina, EMZ them. Myasishchev, KBPA, Saratov and many others, the developers turned to the experience of developing aeronautical systems in the DCBA ... Suppliers of the most advanced materials and assemblies for creating this aircraft were manufacturers from the USA, France, Czech Republic, Sweden and Germany.
    The shell volume of the apparatus is 5 cubic meters. m, length 200 m, payload mass 54 kg, maximum speed 1500-90 km / h, the power of two main engines (Lom Praha M110C) - 332 liters each. s, the maximum flight duration is 170 hours, the flight range with a cruising speed of 24 km / h is 70 km.
    The first two devices as air laboratories were created by order of RAO UES so that power engineers could effectively control the integrity of power lines and ensure uninterrupted operation of electric networks.
    In the Vladimir region. (Kirzhach) specially for the operation of two AU-30 blimps, a specialized aeronautical base "Kirzhach-D" was built (today this facility is owned by the "Lokomosky" company). "
    http://aerocrat.livejournal.com/127336.html