Thursday, August 01, 2013

Australian Built Ship Deploys Surveillance Blimp for US Navy

High-Speed Vessel Swift (HSV-2) with a tethered Aerostat balloon
During the Sydney 2000 Olympics, I was briefly in charge on the bridge of an Incat high speed ship (that is not as reckless as it sounds with the ship alongside a wharf in Sydney). While in Sydney, the ship was demonstrated to the US Defense Department who subsequently leased several and later ordered a new class of similar Australian designed high speed ships from Austral. These vessels are intended for transport of equipment and personnel (the Japanese military have also used one for military transport).  But these vessels have also be tried out for other military roles, the latest of which is to deploy a Tethered Aerostat (unmanned blimp) from the stern of HSV-2 Swift. The aerostat can be positioned 3,000 feet above the vessel for surveillance.

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