Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WHY ARE AIRSHIPS LARGELY IMMUNE TO MISSILE ATTACK?

Missiles are a large threat to airplanes, whether from large ground to air defense or launched from enemy fighter aircraft, to simple shoulder fired man portable missiles.

Airships don't have the same vulnerability.

RADAR..... Modern stealth airplanes are constructed with large amounts of carbon materials, are coated with radar absorbant materials, are shaped to reflect radar away from the emitting source, and bury engines and turbine blades inside the airplane to reduce their radar cross section. The result is an airplane that is difficult to detect.

Airships can be constructed entirely out of materials that do not reflect radar, not just portions of the airframe like airplanes. The size of the airship allows these same materials to be shaped into planes and reflecting surfaces that are many times more effective than can be employed in an airplanes' small wing or fuselage area. Thus, the airship has even greater ability to avoid reflecting radar back to emitter, despite the increased size of the airship.

Airships can carry, and fly successfully, with far greater weights than any airplane. This give the airship the ability to use far larger amounts of radar absorbant materials than an airplane can use. With the increased capacity to carry greater weights, airships can also use active radar supression technologies that airplanes simply cannot carry. The result is greater stealth capability.

Airplanes are limited in their shape by aerodynamic considerations....which is why the F-117 began as a very difficult shape to fly. Advanced computing has eliminated the need for the F-117s angular prism shapes. More subtle shaping, as in the F-22 is now possible. However, the airplane must still maintain the ability to create aerodynamic lift.

Airships have no need to produce aerodynamic lift. An airship can be shaped in any manner whatsoever, from cube to a model of Mickey Mouse. It is therefore easier to shape an airship so that it reflects radar at ANY angle, thus making the airship more stealthy than an airplane.

A properly designed and constructed airship is totally invisable to radar, in far greater frequency ranges than any airplane can be made......and is therefore immune to radar guided missile attack.

INFRA-RED: An infra-red missile is a threat to an airplane because it seeks out the hot exhaust of the engines and will explode to destroy the engine or damage the airplane.

Properly designed airships have no heat signature for infra-red missiles to lock on to. Engines can be buried inside the airship HUNDREDS of feet away from the outer surface of the airships' hull. The airship can use by-pass engines that mix colder ambient air with engine exhaust, without losing any flight ability.

Because airships fly at speeds that are lower than airplanes, or lower than the blades of a helicopter, there is much less heat generated as friction across airfoils that an infra-red seeker might be able to detect.

Unlike an airplane, an airship is held up in the air by its' helium, not by the thrust from engines. An airplane will crash when engines are destroyed, an airship will simply float in the air.

Properly designed airships are immune to infra-red missile attack.


"Shoot it Down!"
Nope. Can't do it.
If you think so, then you believe you can can shoot and kill a whale with a .22 It's just about the same.
There are accounts of "Goodyear blimps" landing after a day of flying; the guys get inside the envelope and see little stars shining through.......bullet holes. (yes, some idiots are always trying to plug a blimp)...why didn't the blimp come down? Because the pressure inside is to little to force the helium out, and because the blimp is to large.
During World War I, giant Zeppelins bombing London were strafed with machine guns down their entire 700' lengths from airplanes flying overhead. Until the introduction of tracer rounds which would set the hydrogen gas on fire......several stricken airships simply flew back over the English Channel and set down gradually onto the ground. They had to be destroyed afterwards by their crews.
Nope. Can't just simply "shoot it down".
Why not? Mostly because its just to damn big. Thousands of holes caused by ground fire might make it leak helium; but it has so much volume that it doesn't fall out of the sky. It flies on, miles from the intitial point of damage. If it is carrying sufficient ballast which can be jetisoned, it does that and keeps on operating despite the damage.
Second reason is that the helium is in multiple cells, (unlike a blimp, which is a single large balloon). Damage to a single cell, or even several, is unlikely to be enough to bring the airship down.,
A third reason is one that is never thought of......which is that the helium inside that is holding the airship up....only wants to go straight up. Holes in the sides of an airship caused by ground fire are completely not relevant. The helium will not travel DOWNWARDS toward a hole to leak out.
Missiles? Unlike an airplane, an airship does not rely upon engines to keep it in the air. It can lose engines completely; it will still fly. There are many reasons why airships are well protected against attacks by missiles; we'll discuss them at a later time.
For now, simply consider the size of the airship compared to the lethal radius of a missile warhead. It's like trying to blow up a football stadium with a hand grenade. Or, like trying to kill that whale with a .22
Nope. Can't be done. You cannot just "shoot down" a proper airship. And that is one reason why the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force....all need AIRSHIPS!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A picture would be worth a thousand words.

V/R,

B. Walthrop

campbell said...

Indeed. We're working on it.

And, thank you, Sir.