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The joint airship experiment between the Navy and Coast Guard emphasizes the cooperative strategy for 21st century seapower among the sea services.

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Comment by Tim Gulliford on July 12, 2008 at 7:41pm
KEY WEST, Fla. -- The Navy, in coordination with the Coast Guard and the recently created National Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness (OGMSA), will conduct a six-week-long series of evaluations off Florida's southern coast of an airship in a maritime surveillance role this summer. Several recent studies have indicated the utility and potential cost effectiveness of airships in this role. This demonstration is an effort to examine the subject further.

The lighter than air platform will fly patrols to test both the systems and crew mission loading and fatigue factors. The airship, a Skyship 600, which is owned and operated by Airship Management Services, Inc. (AMS) and leased by NAVAIR PMA-262, Patuxent River, MD, was configured for this mission with the assistance of the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC. It is manned by a three-person crew, including two pilots and a crew member. They will receive operational, technical and administrative support from both Coast Guard Sector Key West and Naval Air Station Key West .

Source and more info:

Basically, Marine patrol, Terrorism watch, and the Navy successfully launched a UAV from the blimp during tests at San Diego. Looks like this will be a multi-purpose aircraft.
Comment by Douglas Karr on July 12, 2008 at 4:33pm
Very cool. What's the strategy for these, though? Seems like they're just big targets.

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