Michael Cooney
Layer 8
April 29, 2009

Military scientists this week got the go ahead to build a roughly 1/3-scale model of a stratospheric airship that if completed in-scale will basically house a floating 15-story radar system capable of detecting and tracking everything from small cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to soldiers and small vehicles under foliage up to 300 kilometers away.

[efoods]The model is no slouch either and will consist of an airship containing an X-band radar system that will be roughly 100 square meters in size (half the size of a roadside billboard) and a UHF-band system that will be approximately 600 square meters in size (roughly equivalent to the size of a soccer field).

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Lockheed Martin Aeronautics a $400 million contract to design, build, test and flight-demonstration of the 1/3-scale airship that will be large enough to validate manufacturing and calibration for the objective system and will provide an early glimpse of the air and ground target tracking performance possible with an operational system. Demonstration flight tests are expected to occur in FY 2013, Lockheed said.

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