|This just appeared in the Times of London; sounds like an outstanding idea, I just wondered if anyone else knew where I could find a more in-depth analysis of it (costs, drawbacks, other advantages):
Star Wars airships
By Tim Reid
THE Pentagon has turned to technology first used in
Napoleonic France to defend the United States from
attack in the 21st century: the giant airship.
Sixty-five years after the Hindenburg disaster sent the
airship?s prospects crashing to the New Jersey earth,
Pentagon officials plan to ring the American continent
with giant unmanned craft to spot incoming missiles
The US Missile Defence Agency has asked the
country?s largest military contractors to develop a
high-altitude airship that can float at 70,000ft, aiming to
have an operational fleet by 2010. The agency, charged
with protecting America from ballistic missiles, has
given the companies until February to submit designs.
In the post-September 11 world, the technology could
also enhance monitoring terrorist activities on the
ground, the Pentagon believes. Each airship would
carry 40ft radars with a sweep of about 750 miles,
ringing the US coastline.
Initially they would not carry weapons, but the Pentagon
hopes that later they could use lasers to attack
missiles, a marriage of Great War and Star Wars