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Document Id: 900345
Concept Category / Medium:
Mobility or Overseas Presence / AIR
Concept Title: Lighter Than Air Vehicles
Description: My concept is that conflict now and in the future will be conducted in places where we will not have the luxury of the availability of deep water ports to use our shipping capabilities. To address this problem and to address the problem of the cost of large airlift aircraft, I propose a fleet of large lighter than air (durigable) aircraft than use modern materials and coomponents. These vehicles are several orders of magnitude faster than sealift, are cheaper to produce than sealift or large airlift aircraft, can lift tremendous loads very effectively and with modern and forecast materials and components, could be produced to be self repairing. This would allow true direct delivery of men and materials to the theater of operations. This does not allow delivery to hostile environments, however there is great debate as to whether airlift aircraft would be used in such a mode.
Advantages: Major advantages include: - Low cost direct delivery of men and materials to the theater of operations - Would not have to rely on ports or established runways - Very fast reaction both picking up cargo (as it can go to where the cargo is) and delivery as airships are very fast as compared to ocean going vessels - New materials could overcome many if not all of the historical detractors of their use. -- Nano machines/technology could be used to both make the ships self repairing and could also provide the ability for the ships to generate and store the gas to provide lift, negating the need for gas storage aboard the ship.
Countermeasures: Countermeasures for this type of vehicle would be many. It is not difficult to detect or destroy something as large as an airship. However the concept would not send this vehicle into harms way any more than we would send any of our current large airlifters into harms way. Having said this, there may be many types of materials and countermeasures that would allow these types of ships to be somewhat stealthy. Also htese vehicles, due to their size and cost could beb used as platforms for many other high tech weapon systems (laser communications, pulse weapons, laser weapons, radars, etc)
Commercial Applications: Commercial applications abound for heavy lift capability. These airships could be used in many industries to include: forrestry, construction, movement of many of the goods and materials that now transit by sea and some that now goes by air. While never totally replacing sealift or commercial airlift, this would be a very cost and energy effective (to include environmentally friendly) compliment.