Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lockheed Martins HAA (High Altitude Airship) might not get finished

There has been an article by Reuters, today, that I at first didn't want to talk about but after Thomas A.Frank at the Airship-list was the second source to talk about this I thought it's might be worth mentioning. So to the Article, it was called "U.S. cruise missile defence said possible in 14 months" It talks about Lockheed lobbying for a program to defend against missiles. Part of this system should have been the High Altitude Airship [HAA] as a surveillance platform. The article states:
The company had high hopes for its $148 million High Altitude Airship program, for airships priced at just under $40 million apiece that can hover and monitor a 500-square-mile area for about two months.

But the Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency cut the program's budget sharply in fiscal year 2007 and requested no funding at all for 2008. Lockheed convinced lawmakers to reinstate the 2007 funds, and there is an amendment to provide a small sum in 2008, but the program's outlook is grim at this point.

Christopher Bolkcom, defence specialist at the Congressional Research Service, said cruise missiles were difficult to track and that Lockheed's forecast about deploying a wide-area defence was "optimistic."

Bolkcom said U.S. policymakers had likely done "the mental calculus that it's too expensive, too hard, on the one hand, and the threat is not big enough to justify it, on the other."
It's clearly understandable why Lockheed is trying to push the project and get Governmental Funding, because there is a lot of money behind it. But as the article says, the threat against the US-Coastline is probably not big enough to fund such an expensive project. As the article states further on:
The U.S. military has plans to protect troops, ships and overseas bases from cruise missile attacks, but it has no plan and no budget to protect the U.S. coastline, Kueter said.
So it seems that Lockheed is facing the same problems many Airship Development projects are facing and this problem is missing funding. The full article can be read at Reuters.com

What are your ideas and thoughts on how to finance an airship development project, what are the costly parts in an airship construction, and where can the most money be saved. How much does the helium cost, and how do you use it best? Send us your comments either by posting it in the comments section below this post or send us an email to airshipworld@gmail.com or post on the Wiki at http://airshipworld.wetpaint.com/, if you do not have an account yet, sign up here and get yourself an account.


Anonymous said...

My googlebot delivered this commentary 2 hours before your post. read it here> http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2007/07/lesson-in-defense-contracting.html

This is the sad fate of all government funded LTA projects. The money always goes to the traditional weapons platforms. DARPA, LockMart & Boeing have spent millions on LTA R&D. Our tax dollars paid for for this. If they can't get it off the ground then they should open source their results. Where's a good Freedom of Information lawyer.

That's a data base that would really put this wiki in center of LTA development. Let's keep in mind one of the guiding principles of the wikipedia in building this wiki > NPOV.

Leave the politics at the door. Post & promote all efforts to make LTA's a reality with NPOV.

Up Ship ! ~ JC

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