By Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter.
The United States Defense Department claims that it is readying itself to issue contracts for the construction of a sophisticated, ultra-high altitude, 450-plus foot long blimps that will hover above the earth's surface at 65,000 feet and remain airborne for up to 10 years.
Many are skeptical and believe that this spy airship already exists or one like it and is in operation now. All across the U.S. and around the world the public has reported seeing large airships flying low believed to be taking off or landing. Most are reported seen near military airfields. The strange huge airships have also been reported being seen near the top secret base called Area 51 in Nevada north of Las Vegas.
Hundreds of Phoenix citizens reported seeing a lighted triangular shaped airship appearing to be two or three football-fields in size, flying slow and silently over the city a few years back. Airline pilots have also reported seeing giant similar airships.
The Pentagon says this new proposed spy ship will be powered by solar panel technologies and hydrogen fuel cells, the blimp like airship, unlike contemporary long endurance surveillance platforms such as the Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS, drones and other systems will provide constant 24/7 all weather surveillance capabilities.
Reports in some US and UK publications, radio and TV stations suggested the airships reported all over the world is believed to be very much like this alleged new airship. According to officials this new airship will be able to travel to any global destination, can survey targets up to a 375 mile radius and can remain airborne without landing for ten years. They can have a real time live view of what's happening on the ground say at our borders tracking drug and human smugglers and monitor ground troop movements in other problem area's like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mexico.
The Pentagon denies that the spy airship is already in existence and reports that this next generation airship they propose will provide the U.S. with intelligence that they have never had before. Experts who study government secrets say often by the time new technology is shared with the public it often has been around for years.
Reportedly, the new airship will be twenty times the size of the famed Goodyear blimp and will have high resolution cameras and communication capabilities in addition to a football-field sized radar antenna.
The blimp's main attraction would lie in its ability to provide uninterrupted surveillance and the fact that it would be easily redeployed to any number of trouble spots worldwide, where it would provide real time information. It is absolutely revolutionary. ''When you only have a short-term view – whether it is a few hours or a few days – that is not enough to put the picture together,'' Werner Dahm, chief scientist for the US Air Force, is quoted as saying in these reports.
Apart from huge savings in costs, compared to existing satellite based systems, the system would also avoid the risks from space junk, a phenomenon recently highlighted by near misses to the International Space Station and also the mysterious deaths of satellites, which, were damaged or destroyed by space debris or other satellites. The airship is an excellent alternative given the costs to launch satellites, build satellites, and maintain them. You also have to factor in the amount of space junk flying around in space that could potentially destroy a satellite at any given time - especially with the Space Vacuum not yet being ready.
The new proposed airship at such heights experts claim it will remain out of range of hand-held SAM systems as well as most fighter planes, but not satellite defense systems.
The high-flying airships are estimated to cost $400 million a copy. The report said a prototype is expected by 2014.
As early as the turn of the century the U.S. government was proposing similar if not the same spy airships. Early in this deck aid "According to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), 11 high-altitude airships would provide overlapping radar coverage of all maritime and southern border approaches to the continental U.S., and may be a significant asset in homeland defense efforts. The Stratospheric Platform System (SPS) dirigible operates just barely within the outer limits of the earth's atmosphere and is emerging as part of the military's 21st century transformational mindset."
Many large tethered blimps have been sighted on the U.S. Mexican border and it is believed by locals along the border that they have been seen and in use for several years. They are not believed the ultra high altitude spy airships that hover around the 65,000 level they are smaller but are the lower altitude version and does the same type spying and monitoring of the US border areas. Locals say they are being operated by the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. National guard personal.
In a earlier government press release five years ago it reported that the government had already hired defense subcontractor Lockheed Martin to design, develop and build an enormous blimp that will be used to spy on Americans and others around the world, according to the Athens News. Government agencies such as the NSA are anticipating that as early as 2009 the blimp will be operational and begin supporting new ways of monitoring everything that happens on the planet.
In 2004 it was reported that a prototype of the blimp is already being developed at a cost of $40 million (now estimated at $400 Million). The spy ship, called the High Altitude Airship, will be seventeen times larger than the Goodyear Blimp and hover 12 miles above the ground. Although it is very large it will be invisible to both the naked eye and ground radar because of its distance from the earth. Fuel economic and self sufficient, it will be powered by solar energy and will be able to fly for years at a time.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command has already conducted a study to determine some of the uses of the spy ship. It has the capability of monitoring an area 600 miles in diameter at a time with surveillance equipment, such as high-resolution cameras. The government has ordered 11 of them – enough to monitor every parcel of land in the U.S.