Pros and cons of airships

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Shangorilla, Dec 14, 2007.

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  1. Harnu Semper Fidelis Registered Senior Member

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    I'd have to disagree. I don't see blimps/airships as having any practical military application. If you wanted to fit and airship to do the job of an airplane or jet, it would more than likely end up far less efficient.
     
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  3. kmguru Staff Member

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    Should not we have an air platform like Navy Aircraft Carrier?
     
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  5. Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack Registered Senior Member

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    How many cubic parsecs of hydrogen would it take to float 80+ combat aircraft, millions of gallons of JP-5, hundreds of tons of ordnance, ~3000 personnel (at least), and the facilities to launch/recover, store, maintain/repair, operate, feed, and berth them?
     
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  7. kmguru Staff Member

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    A lot? Either that or work on an antigravity gizmo?
     
  8. kmguru Staff Member

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    "In April of this year DARPA initiated a program to develop a heavier-than-air, intercontinental airship capable of rapidly transporting military men and equipment to a war zone. The plan, designated WALRUS, would call for a fleet of airships capable of transporting upwards of 500 tons of cargo 6,000 miles in 4 days. Not bad when you consider a standard C-130 C-130 cargo plane, can carry about 22 tons. In addition, it is expected that these airships will also carry sufficient supplies (food, ammunition, fuel, parts, and equipment) to sustain the force for at least 72 hours. In the current war on terrorism, with an increased need for strategic airlifts, that's a hefty amount of equipment and personnel, and given our current fuel crisis, the relative fuel efficiency of an airship compared to a standard cargo aircraft is something Defense budgeters can agree with."
     
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Gee, I just wonder how the bad huys are going to shoot that thing down. I guess they have to find it going so slow and stealth like!

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  10. kmguru Staff Member

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    Which type of bad guys? You need a surface to air missile not an RPG at that height. While the range is about 900 meters, accuracy falls off after 300 meters.
     
  11. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    It's not a combat drop lol
     
  12. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    From my take on what was said it seems that it was bringing in supplies to the military somewhere. If they are going to be over hostile areas I'd think that airships will be a vety big, fat juicy target for S A M S. Although you might not consider them easy targets for smaller types of R P G's , they do have to land somewhere and again gee wiz look at them sitting on the ground waiting to be R P G at! Airships just aren't the thing to have during any conflicts.
     
  13. Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack Registered Senior Member

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    Heavier than air though. This was (WALRUS has been canceled) one of those trojan projects that DARPA has going on all the time, which is a feasibility study more than a proof of concept.

    As a general rule, transport aircraft are operated in areas where enemy air defenses have been suppressed and air dominance has been achieved. For extremely valuable strategic assets like these, you can bet your life that they wouldn't overfly an active enemy air defense zone.
     
  14. kmguru Staff Member

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    Thank you Echo3, it is nice to have a person inside.

    People are itching to build Airships and looking for excuses. May be a cruise line?
     
  15. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    There was something in the press a couple of months back where a reporter expressed how their flight in an airship was in comparison to the cramped conditions of a plane. Pre-war airships had cabins and even grand piano's on board, I'm not suggesting we need airships as extravagant however it gives you an idea as to how much weight they could take.

    The reason for the Hindenburg disaster was mostly down to the use of Hydrogen, it wasn't the choice fuel for airships because of it's known combustibility however the Germans at the time were under trade embargo's where they couldn't purchase Helium from the USA, which is why they were left with Hydrogen.

    They attempted to make it as safe as possible but it still resulted in the disaster that most think of when thinking of airships.

    The US government has a Surveillance Blimp for trying to track drug runners and immigration over the souther border.

    In essence they actually make far greater sense than aircraft because you don't necessarily have to combust any fuel for propulsion (Solar paneling) which definitely lessens the pollutants that would otherwise be sky bound.
     
  16. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    There are such blimps and they are radar types that don't have a manned crew. They are tethered to something and hoisted into the air for better radar tracking of unknown ships and aircraft.
     
  17. Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack Registered Senior Member

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    Don't forget the dope on the fabric, which had a sort of quasi-thermite compound in it that the Germans thought contributed to the fire. A majority of the hydrogen actually floated away before combusting.
     
  18. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    That would be down the Aluminium present that was suppose to stop radicals catalysing the hydrogen (Basically it attempted to shield the hydrogen from various radiologicals). The one thing that is commonly missed is that during the same week of the disaster, The US's 1st Army Signal Corps was conducting experiments involving the first Radar systems. There is a remote possibility that the accident involved the run up usage of such equipment prior to a demonstration of RADAR, since the Zeppelin would not have been shielded against RADAR Doppler's at the time. (Admittedly the only way to test this would be build a small replica model and attempt to ignite it using a scaled down version of the RADAR in testing)
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Helium is a mined, non-renewable resource. It's expensive, it has other uses more valuable, and it's twice as heavy as hydrogen. Hydrogen is not that dangerous - the Hindenburg was a freak thing with a brand new technology, and we've learned a lot since 1930 about fabric, static, etc. It just doesn't work for military stuff.

    The lack of military application may be what has kept the dirigible from finding its niche. Few major transport technologies have ever been developed without military impetus - even the freeways of the US were laid out with military purpose.
     
  20. Diode-Man Awesome User Title Registered Senior Member

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    More people die in car accidents than plane crashes.... airtravel is the way to go.
     
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