A long-term study into the military need for a high-altitude airship has entered the prototype development stage, with the US Missile Defense Agency awarding Lockheed Martin a $150 million contract to build a 130m (430ft)-long airship. The scaled-down prototype will displace 344,000m3 (3.7 million ft3) of air and enter flight demonstration from mid-2009, including a primary mission to remain on station at 60,000ft for 30 days. The prototype will generate 3kW of continuous power and carry a 225kg (500lb) payload.

Source: Flight International