The US Private military security firm Blackwater has been developing an airship called Polar 400 the blimp has been on tests at the Airdock #1 Hangar of the U. S. Naval Air Station (LTA) Weeksville in Elizabeth City. The hangar belongs to TCOM LP who have been part of the Polar 400 development. Today a rumor has circulated that this airship has been wrecked by a storm, this is unconfirmed information but we want to take this event to look at what Blackwater has been up to. The Polar 400 project is part of a new Blackwater sub company called Blackwater Airships LLC which was established in January 2006.
HamptonRoads.com has a nice article about the Blackwater airship program called "Blackwater aims high with unmanned aircraft" it goes into quite a lot of detail as to what is being developed and why. The article also features a collection of pictures showing the Polar 400 Airship with it's hydraulic propulsion system.
Since information about the Blackwater blimp are very sparse we would like to share a few additional bits bits of information with you.
The Polar 400 airship has the FAA registration N6542B, the arrangement of the engines is very similar to that of the Zeppelin NT with two engines on each side of the envelope in the middle and an additional rear engine, that has two props. A difference to the Zeppelin NTs prop configuration is that the aft engines are not vectored where as the Zeppelin can point one of it's aft props 90° downwards. A unique feature of the Blackwater blimp is that it is a blimp and still has it's engines attached to the envelope. Until now all blimps had their engines on the gondola. The Zeppelin NT uses it's internal rigid frame to allow positioning of the engines on the envelope.
There where some videos of the Ron Paul Blimp campaing when their Blimp started from the Elizabeth City, in those videos you can see the Blackwater Blimp in the background. Here are the links First Blimp Coverage!(Blackwater blimp always in the background) and "Takeoff"(Blackwater Blimp at -2:17 on the mast truck).
I want to thank Chris Jisi, Ken Delacy, Dan Nachbar, Joe Bloggs and Rick Zitarosa from the Airship-list for links and informations. If you have more infos and or pictures of the Blackwater blimp please share them with us, also if you have any more information about the rumored wreckage of the blimp. Leave your comments or send us an email. Also think about subscribing to the Blog it's absoluteley free and you get all the content directly delivered to you. You can subsribe to our RSS Feed or via Email. If you have a website on your own, why don't you put a link to us, and tell us about it, we will be happy to link to you too. Also please spread the word about Airshipworld we want to reach even more people in the industry but also the general public, university students and everyone else who is just interested in what is going on with airships in the world. Please help spreading the word and maybe make Airshipworld the homepage of your browser.