It’s a plan that seems more likely to come from Goodyear than the Pentagon – but the U.S. military is, in fact, testing blimp-like aircraft in battlefield reconnaissance roles over the mountains of Utah.
The location was picked for its similarities to many regions of Afghanistan. Officials say that the dirigibles will be outfitted with a variety of sensitive equipment that will allow battlefield commanders to monitor aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles while battling Al Qaeda on rough terrain.
Several UAVs are already capable of the same tasks, but the blimps – which will also be unmanned – can do so at a fraction of the cost, trimming costs in the War on Terror.
Each aircraft is capable of staying aloft for a month at a time, and can also be used at sea in other military situations.
Test flights are scheduled throughout the rest of the year.