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Army Drops $517M on Football Field-Sized LEMV Surveillance Airships

LEMVIn an effort to assist U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Army has commissioned a company to develop a surveillance airship that's longer than a football field. According to, Northrop Grumman Corp. recently received a $517 million contract from the Army to build as many as three Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicles (LEMV), which can carry 2,500-pounds while hovering 20,000-feet above sea level at a whopping 34 mph. Technically, an LEMV isn't a blimp, so the Bullet 580 still holds the title as the world's largest. The LEMV is actually a hybrid airship that uses a combination of thrusters and lighter-than-air gas to remain aloft.

These LEMVs should take flight by the end of 2011, and the airships' main purpose will be to provide long-term surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance for the U.S. Army in the Middle East. [From:, via: Geekosystem]

Tags: afghanistan, airship, amry, army, flight, lemv, military, Northrop Grumman, security, surveillance, top, transport, travel