Giant Blimps On Their Way Back – Again

Big BlimpEvery year there seems to be a news story about how ‘the blimp is coming back’. Well, this is that story for 2006. The Impact Lab blog says the Pentagon (which always seems to be the source of these stories) will be putting out a contract for a new cargo and troop moving airship. Two companies are competing for the work, and each has a $3 million preliminary design contract right now. That will be followed this September by a $100 milllion contract to the winning company to build a prototype, with potentially $11 billion to be spent on airship production over the next 30 years. Since one of the companies working on the preliminary design is Lockheed-Martin’s legendary Skunk Works design group, the competition promises to be interesting. (The other is Worldwide Aeros, a California company founded by a Russian immigrant that has built about 30 advertising blimps.) Much as I would love to see big airships make a comeback, I’ve learned over the years not to get my hopes up. But I can dream, can’t I?

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