The blimp got to 32,000 feet but couldn't climb higher, so controllers in Akron, Ohio, decided to bring it down with a "controlled descent" in a sparsely populated area, some heavy woods near New Freeport, in Pennsylvania's southwest corner about 100 miles from Akron.
These blimps will be able to scan hundreds of miles in real time while being able to stay airborne for months at a time. You probably won't be able to see this blimp, because unlike the Goodyear Blimp, this airship will be at very high altitudes. However, they are coming to a city near you!
Company executives, at an event Monday afternoon in the Airdock to celebrate Lockheed Martin's related military blimp program, say money is in place to launch a completed 500,000-cubic-foot, high-tech unmanned prototype next summer. The multimillion-dollar project, announced with great fanfare early in the decade, was postponed after running into federal funding delays in recent years.
U.S. Army Awards Lockheed Martin $142 Million for Additional Persistent Threat Detection Aerostat Systems
AKRON, Ohio, June 8th, 2010 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] received a $142 million award from the U.S. Army to begin production of additional Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS) to support coalition forces.
The Department of Defense is making a concerted effort to rapidly increase the resources available to help warfighters detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs). PTDS is a tethered aerostat-based system, capable of staying aloft for weeks at a time, that provides round-the-clock surveillance of broad areas. The Army began using the system in 2004.
“The PTDS delivers real-time surveillance and actionable intelligence to our troops to help them in life-threatening situations,” said Stephanie Hill, Integrated Defense Technologies vice president at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors. "These eyes in the sky protect soldiers and civilians and let the hostiles know that they are constantly being watched.”
The PTDS is equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications in support of the United States military and its allies.
The Army's firm-fixed-price undefinitized contract action enables Lockheed Martin to begin work on the systems while final contract terms are negotiated. The latest systems are in addition to the previous ones the Army ordered from Lockheed Martin in the past six months. The majority of the work on the systems will be performed in Akron, OH, with additional work in Cape Canaveral, FL, Moorestown, NJ and Owego, NY.
Filled with helium, PTDS provides low-cost, continuous communications and persistent surveillance capabilities not possible with other types of manned and unmanned aircraft. Attached by a high-strength tether to a re-locatable mooring system, PTDS carries different types of surveillance equipment to conduct multiple missions.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.
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