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Plans for a Surveillance Aircraft are Released

Adrian Mudd   March 24, 2009

The Pentagon has revealed plans for a surveillance aircraft that will fly more than 12 miles above the ground for 10 years without landing. Is this just a flight of fancy or a real possibility? The 450ft-long (137-metre) craft will be developed at a cost of $400m, with a prototype one-third of that length due to be ready by 2014.

A Groundbreaking Surveillance Aircraft

The US military hopes the blimp, floating 12 miles above a surveillance area in near space, will give it a better understanding of events on the ground. It will be equipped with a radar system able to provide unprecedented detail over a wide area from hundreds of miles away. The craft – called Isis – will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells recharged by its own solar panels, and will be filled with helium, which will give the craft its shape. The Guardian covers the story of this phenomenal surveillance aircraft in further detail.

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