New Military Aircraft Ideas

For years, the army has spent millions, if not billions of dollars building high-tech flying machines that can skim under radar while launching missiles thousands of miles to countries overseas. What they have failed to do is worry about the budget that they are using, and the money that they spend with every vehicle that comes off of the assembly line. Now, they’ve taken a greener look at some of their surveillance technology and recently unveiled a “Super Blimp”, the LEMV Airship. It isn’t what this ship can’t do when compared to stealth bombers, it’s what it can do that no other aircraft the army has can.

The LEMV Airship, or Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle is essentially the Rolls Royce of blimps, and is designed to fly continuously for 21 straight days while providing “unblinking” surveillance of the graound below. The LEMV can barely fit inside Dallas Cowboys Stadium and towers more than seven stories. Built by Northrop Grumman, the blimp is designed to be a hybrid version of what most peo

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Spherical Flying Machine

We got our first look at Japan’s Defense Ministry’s spherical flying machine earlier this year, but at a recent technology expo in Tokyo the hovering ball got the full coming-out treatment, complete with public demos eliciting “ooohs” and “aaaahs.” The video below shows the drone doing everything it was designed to do: zipping around omnidirectionally, rolling across the floor, and staying aloft even when it strikes or is struck by an obstacle.

Perhaps most impressive: the thing is built with off-the-shelf parts and costs a ridiculously lean $1,400. For that you get airborne speeds topping out at nearly 40 miles per hour and stability backed up by three on-board gyros that keep the thing aloft even when it runs into objects. Not bad bang for your buck.

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Dream Chaser

The Dream Chaser, a reusable space plane currently under development by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), is to undergo high altitude drop tests in 2012 following a 25.6 million US dollar boost from NASA to top-off the 80 million US dollar contract awarded earlier this year. But it won't be chasing just any dream. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program this year, the very tangible goal is to deliver a low-cost, safe alternative for transporting astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and other low Earth orbit destinations.

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Virgin Lowers It's Carbon Footprint

Three years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways grabbed some headlines when it experimentally ran one of its 747s on a mixture of standard jet fuel and biofuel. While some called it a publicity stunt, it was the first time that a commercial airliner had flown using biofuel – albeit only in part of one of its four fuel tanks. Today, however, the airline announced that it’s developing an aviation fuel that will have half the carbon footprint of conventional fuel. The carbon savings won’t result from how cleanly the fuel burns, but from how it’s obtained. Learn more here.

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Dreamliner

Boeing Dreamliner Delivered to First Customer After three years of costly setbacks and scary failed test flights, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner finally made its debut on Sunday when it was delivered to its first Japanese customer. Boeing has orders for 821 of these Dreamliners, which fly 52 percent farther than the all-metal 767 aircraft they're replacing, while using 20 percent less fuel thanks to their carbon fiber design. Other upgrades include better cabin air, electronically dimmable windows, a more efficient turbofan engine with fewer fan blades and Android-based entertainment systems. Even though the ultra-light composite technology has become popular among other airlines, including Airbus, three years worth of expensive delays won't be easy on Boeing. They'll need to sell a lot of the Dreamliners in order to recoup their losses.

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