Air Force Developing Surveillance Mega-Blimp Dubbed 'Blue Devil'
To process and index all the footage that's collected, Blue Devil will also haul a supercomputer, which will host the equivalent of 2,000 single-core servers. This gigantic processor is crucial to the project's primary goal, which is to get information to the ground within 15 seconds. It understandably takes a lot of manpower and time to organize and sift through surveillance data that's culled from several different aircraft in a given area; by serving as a central surveillance hub for a large area, Blue Devil could save critical time for military analysts. Not only would all the data be collected in one place, but the blimp's supercomputer could also process and index this data using meta tags, like time or location, which would make it easier for ground troops to search and pull the information they need from the servers.
If project Blue Devil comes together as planned (which may be a big "if," considering that the Air Force hasn't even begun to assemble the hull yet), the mega-blimp will take its first flight on October 15th. Don't forget though, the U.S. Army is also developing a Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), which is planned to launch by the end of the year. Who will launch first? It looks like it will be a race to the finish, folks -- a very slow and expensive one, but a race nonetheless.