The Navy is leasing a Skyship 600, about the size of a Boeing 747, for the six-week test mission between Florida's southern coast and Cuba, Coast Guard Lt. Matthew Moorlag said on Tuesday.While the airship is said to be able to operate for up to 52 hours without refueling, indications are it will run for periods no longer than 8 hours. The airship is said to be able to do up to 57 mph and will operate at an altitude of 1,500 to 3,000 feet.
The manned ship is held aloft by nonflammable helium and propelled by two Porsche 930 engines that consume 10 to 12 gallons of regular gasoline per hour.
Credit those SOUTHCOM folks... they continue to think out of the box. For the record, we think that thing needs a paint job.
Campbell, Zeppelin, call your office.
Update: Brickmuppet has more.