Tuesday, September 06, 2005

DARPA's Walrus

While the military budget details in this Gizmag article are completely wrong, the actual meat of the article is still very interesting.

One of the oldest axioms in warfare is that the military travels on its stomach. Logistics wins wars. In order to deal with supplying far off lands with large loads of men and materiel, the Army is looking into heavy lifting airships. We are talking about airborne freighters hauling as much as a lift wing of C-130 Hercules. And they can land anywhere there is sufficient room for them to touch down.

My thoughts are mixed. For military purposes, these aircraft will be big and slow and fragile. This is a horrible mix if someone might shoot at you. However, if we need to move lots of equipment somewhere that doesn't have applicable transportation infrastructure, it is a great idea. That place could be Afghanistan or a logging camp in the Pacific Northwest or water-logged New Orleans.

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