Technology keeps thrusting forward, especially in the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) field, where new pilotless aircraft, always smaller and more powerful, are being created every second day.
Sometimes though, time seems to leap backwards, and in this specific field it seems to give an unexpected nod to good old airships, which seemed to have retired long ago, and be used only to carry advertising messages.
Instead, along with being used as a cargo ship for heavy equipment, it is also useful for monitoring and surveillance from above. The spy airship, designed by Northrop Grumman, in cooperation with other firms in the avionics and aerospace field, on behalf of the US Army, is neither small nor invisible, as its length can be compared with that of a football pitch.
What actually spy airships used for?
In spite of its enormous size, the so-called LEMV (Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle) can efficiently carry out the task of a spy plane, floating in the air at an altitude of approximately 6000 meters, and thanks to its video, photo and GPS equipment on board, it can gather photo and video intelligence from above. All this, of course, takes place without a pilot on board, operating on a predefined route which is set from the ground.
In the US Army’s intentions, LEMV should be used to monitor the air space, national and international, both for military and civilian use. If used in the military field, the spy blimp would be teamed up with C4ISR software systems, which manage the information coming from different sources such as, along with the airship, spy satellites and several UAV type aircraft, to keep track of any movement of men and equipment taking place within a certain area of operations.