The following Q&As originally were provided as handouts by Westinghouse-Airship Industries
(W-AI) for the Sentinel Series Skyships (non-rigid airships) primarily marketed for USA military and para-military purposes. However, they’re provided here as edited versions (in some cases virtually re-written) to give factually and technically correct plus commercially interesting responses for people generally to consider; where the military sell aspect is de-emphasised in favour of civil aspects for public applications to help the airship industry promote development of civil airships for private, public, industrial and human need purposes.
Nonetheless, the sort of threats and operating aspects that military aircraft face still need to be addressed for commercial operations, since nastiness regrettably is endemic in our world – often causing upset. Many military objectives (e.g. transport, surveillance, construction, etc) thus suit parallel commercial needs for capable aircraft able to serve in harsh environmental conditions!
See also the following videos, providing a comprehensive round-up of additional information:
- Documentary Channel – Battle Airship: Modern Weapons at War (45.24 mins)
- Nova – The Blimp Is Back! (58:26 mins)
It should be noted that big benign airships are hardly ‘Weapons of War’, but do have abilities for many useful purposes under perhaps surprisingly harsh conditions, revealed to some extent by the videos.
OK – the Q&As:
- What is an airship?
- Why were former airships abandoned?
- Airships are big and slow; aren’t they vulnerable to hostile action?
- How do airships work?
- What happens if an airship gets a hole in it?
- What determines an airship’s size?
- What about weather effects on airship operations?
- Why Airships for surveillance instead of other things, such as: E2s, E3s, 0TH-R, space based sensors, and surface forces for special functions?