Researching the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) program for an earlier blog led me to wonder what had become of another surveillance airship, Lockheed Martin's High Altitude Long Endurance Demonstrator (HALE-D), which was supposed to have flown this summer. I hadn't heard anything, so I asked. Turns out it didn't fly, but the envelope was inflated inside the Airdock at Akron.
Photo: Lockheed Martin
It seems the program ran out of money before the airship could be flown, and Lockheed says it is now working with the US Army's Space & Missile Defense Command to find additional funds to complete the demonstration.
The HALE-D is a subscale prototype of the long-proposed High Altitude Airship (HAA), an unmanned surveillance platform intended to stay aloft in the stratosphere for months. The 240ft-long HALE-D is more modest, designed to carry a 50lb payload to 60,000ft for at least 15 days. powered by a combination of solar arrays and batteries.