Raytheon's concept airships.

Raytheon's concept airships. Image: Raytheon

The Los Angeles Times is reporting the Pentagon intends to develop a giant dirigible that will float 65,000 feet above the stratosphere with a shelf-life of ten years.

The unmanned airship will provide “unblinking and intricate radar surveillance of the vehicles, planes and even people below”.

It will be a “cross between a satellite and a spy plane.”

The 450-foot-long craft would give the U.S. military a better understanding of an adversary’s movements, habits and tactics, officials said.

The Pentagon has not yet awarded a contractor to build the prototype. Earlier work was done by Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

For further reference, see Smithsonian’s Air and Space magazine which has an extensive article on airship designs.