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Giant unmanned airships to patrol Afghanistan skies for up to three weeks at a time

Niall Firth
UK Daily Mail
July 12, 2010

Giant unmanned airships that can fly for up to three weeks at a time could soon be providing cover for British soldiers in Afghanistan.

The LEMV (long endurance multi intelligence vehicle) is being developed by a team of British and American engineers and will give troops on the ground valuable surveillance information.

The helium-filled drone will, when it takes to the skies sometime next summer, become the world’s longest endurance UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).

Packed with reconnaissance systems, the LEMV will be able to operate autonomously at altitudes of around 22000 feet for 21 days at a time, and travelling at speeds of up to 80 knots.

Alan Metzger, director for airship programmes at defence firm Northrop Grumman, which received half a billion dollars from the US military for the project, said that the airship’s ability to stay in the air for long periods make it perfect for surveillance missions.

Full article here [1]