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Thread: Zeppelins

  1. #1 Zeppelins 
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    What would happen if we brought back Zeppelins in Afghanistan? Do you think they'd actually be of any use? They can fly reasonably high, at minimal fuel expense, for long ranges, and pretty quietly (for if they're used at night.)

    In theory, their outer surface can be cooled, making it difficult for heat guided missiles to home in on them. I think a sniper perched in one would have a pretty wide view of the landscape below them. They can carry a lot of passengers if you make them big, so there's always the option to deploy them if there's a serious attack.

    It's funny to think, but when you consider the Taliban's level of technology, maybe some technologies that would be obsolete in a normal war, are actually pretty practical when directed against them.


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    So,.... for snipers, we could mount really big rifles on a Zeppelin, with long barrels, way bigger than a soldier can carry. Really precise servo motors would add to the stability. It could even be computer controlled, so all an operator does is choose the target and the computer does all the calculations to figure out how to hit them.


    The combination of being able to pick off ground forces, and being missile proof (because guided missiles have a hard time homing in on it), would seem to make it the safest way to transport troops from one place to another. No risk of a road side bomb at that altitude.


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    I really have no idea how Zeppelins work but what happens if someone sprays it with an AK-47? Does the helium (or whatever is used) leak out? How long does it take for it to leak out?
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChocolateThunda
    I really have no idea how Zeppelins work but what happens if someone sprays it with an AK-47? Does the helium (or whatever is used) leak out? How long does it take for it to leak out?
    Well, the Zeppelins that were used in the early part of the 20th century actually were not big balloons like they appear on the outside. Inside the big outer casing, it was full of smaller balloons (which were made out of cow bladders.)

    Basically, each bullet might pierce a balloon or two, but they'd have to pop a lot of them to bring it down. It's also not entirely impossible to armor them. Just depends on how much weight you can spare.
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    We are using quite a few of balloons as stationary platforms overseas. They are well instrumented and are a deterrent.
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    Huh, interesting. I always just assumed that it was just one giant balloon. I guess that is a much better idea.
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    Zeppelins/ blimps have very low gas pressure inside of them, in order to maxamize performance. Small arms fire would not cause grave damage, as the gas would leak out so slow that the blimp would have plenty of time to fly away. I'm guessing that a grenade from an RPG and up would cause enough damage to bring it down.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    I'm guessing that a grenade from an RPG and up would cause enough damage to bring it down.
    The challenge is most are impact fuzed and probably wouldn't detonate unless it happened to hit a solid rib dead on.
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    Interesting... I too never knew they were really sacks of sacks of air. But that does make a whole lot more sense. I was wondering the whole time how in the world anyone ever got away with using a zeppelin when it could be popped so easily, but now you know.
    I do like the thought "when you consider the Taliban's level of technology, maybe some technologies that would be obsolete in a normal war, are actually pretty practical when directed against them."
    Also funny when you consider some stories some friends have heard about the technology we're using against them (a carbon-fiber backpack that unfolds into a remote-controlled drone, whic flies at 6000 feet, and takes pictures of footprints in the sand to track terrorists)... they get by with homemade explosives and sheer fear, but we're using extremely classified million-dollar technology. We need to develop a more flexible system. This war on terror is ridiculous. We have much to learn from their tactics.
    Seems like a good idea to me.
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  11. #10 Re: Zeppelins 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    What would happen if we brought back Zeppelins in Afghanistan? Do you think they'd actually be of any use? They can fly reasonably high, at minimal fuel expense, for long ranges, and pretty quietly (for if they're used at night.)

    In theory, their outer surface can be cooled, making it difficult for heat guided missiles to home in on them. I think a sniper perched in one would have a pretty wide view of the landscape below them. They can carry a lot of passengers if you make them big, so there's always the option to deploy them if there's a serious attack.

    It's funny to think, but when you consider the Taliban's level of technology, maybe some technologies that would be obsolete in a normal war, are actually pretty practical when directed against them.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General..._MQ-1_Predator
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    Predators are awesome. They probably deserve their own topic. Great overwatch, great range, and of course.... the added benefit of not having to put a human pilot in harm's way, so even if the enemy shoots one down, they haven't cost us any morale.


    But, you can't put snipers on a predator to engage an enemy near civilian targets. And, you can't transport troops aboard one.

    Just imagine how awesome it would be for a group of soldiers to just silently drift during the night up to a village suspected of harboring hostiles. The sun comes up, revealing 2 zeppelin gunships in the air overhead, and a squadron of foot soldiers on the ground. And oops! They don't have time to hide all the weapons. Their network of spotters didn't see us coming early enough to give a warning.
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    That would be pretty BA.
    But Dr Rocket has a point, drones in essence are the aerial snipers you are talking about. Can't they kill from miles and miles away?
    But they can't transport anything other than bullets. So...
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    I thought predators used air to ground missiles, not guns?
    And I think that a predator can kill anything in it's camera range, which, at high altitude, is big.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    I thought predators used air to ground missiles, not guns?
    And I think that a predator can kill anything in it's camera range, which, at high altitude, is big.
    You are right. Small missiles such as hellfires and stingers.
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    I certainly wouldn't advise retiring the predators in favor of zeppelins. They're just two different tools that are capable of serving two different purposes. And, of the two, a zeppelin is more specialized, because it's only useful against low tech insurgencies in the underdeveloped world.


    Predators are notorious right now for their lack of precision, because the operator can make mistakes and hit targets they don't mean to hit. I think it might be better to have actual human beings a little closer to the action, so they can make a clearer distinction between friend and foe. And maybe using single target weapons instead of missiles.


    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.p...t=va&aid=17343

    http://uniorb.com/RCHECK/drone.htm

    http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-e...lians-1.104815
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  17. #16  
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    No, I definately do not want to retire predators! They have a lot of advantages over zeppelin- speed, safety etc. This study disagrees with the collateral damage views on predators, but it might be government BS:
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2626524/posts

    I agree with the 1st point to: I wonder who would win in a dogfight, a zeppelin or a fighter? That's a toughie.
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    The study is probably right. But, it misses an important point about how you win a battle for "hearts and minds". A lot of those minds are going to be undereducated and ill informed. That doesn't mean you can just discount them and focus on the "smart people". (I don't think Afghanistan has a lot of those anyway, given their level of development.)


    If we're using missiles launched by remote drones at high altitude, people will perceive us to be careless. Inflated statistics merely confirm what they already think of us anyway. (And even in that very favorable study, there were still some civilian casualties.) If, on the other hand, we use a method that looks a lot more careful (airborne snipers with single target guns), people will think we are placing a higher value on their survival.

    Drones are the "bunker method".
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The study is probably right. But, it misses an important point about how you win a battle for "hearts and minds". A lot of those minds are going to be undereducated and ill informed. That doesn't mean you can just discount them and focus on the "smart people". (I don't think Afghanistan has a lot of those anyway, given their level of development.)


    If we're using missiles launched by remote drones at high altitude, people will perceive us to be careless. Inflated statistics merely confirm what they already think of us anyway. (And even in that very favorable study, there were still some civilian casualties.) If, on the other hand, we use a method that looks a lot more careful (airborne snipers with single target guns), people will think we are placing a higher value on their survival.

    Drones are the "bunker method".
    Where ae you planning to find someone to station himself in a very visible balloon and snipe ? Concealment is one of the sniper's foremost tools, critical to survival. It is pretty hard to hide a blimp.

    If you find someone to volunteer, I suggest you reject him and go find somebody a lot smarter.
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    That is a problem. I'm stupid enough, but thas probably because Im not that old, and I think Ill live forever . you could used drone-ish technology, only have a sniper rifle instead of mussiles, and put it on a zepplin. If it goets shot down, big deal. Its a bag, some radio, a cpu, and a rie. It could go really high up.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket

    Where ae you planning to find someone to station himself in a very visible balloon and snipe ? Concealment is one of the sniper's foremost tools, critical to survival. It is pretty hard to hide a blimp.

    If you find someone to volunteer, I suggest you reject him and go find somebody a lot smarter.
    I was thinking maybe the passenger portion of the zeppelin could have armor. Then the risk would be minimal. I suppose you could mount a machine gun there instead (like they do on helicopters).

    It just depends on how stable zeppelins are. If they're really stable, then sniping from them might be a real possibility (or maybe a more correct term would be "sharp shooting" since "sniping" implies concealment). If they're more like helicopters then I guess we'd have to resort to automatic weapons.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket

    Where ae you planning to find someone to station himself in a very visible balloon and snipe ? Concealment is one of the sniper's foremost tools, critical to survival. It is pretty hard to hide a blimp.

    If you find someone to volunteer, I suggest you reject him and go find somebody a lot smarter.
    I was thinking maybe the passenger portion of the zeppelin could have armor. Then the risk would be minimal. I suppose you could mount a machine gun there instead (like they do on helicopters).

    It just depends on how stable zeppelins are. If they're really stable, then sniping from them might be a real possibility (or maybe a more correct term would be "sharp shooting" since "sniping" implies concealment). If they're more like helicopters then I guess we'd have to resort to automatic weapons.
    Armor is not impenetrable. Not by a long shot. A main battle tank weighs about 65+ tons, and they are far from invulnerable.

    If a sniper can shoot out, another sniper can shoot in, and if the compartment is armored the bullet will ricochet around inside and definitely hit somebody. The guy on the ground will have the more stabble shooting platform., and he WILL be concealed.

    Bringing bdown a derigible with automatic fire and/or RPGs (or a radio-controlled model airplane) ought to be a piece of cake. Given the height of some Afghan mountains one might be able to shoot down at the derigible.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket

    Armor is not impenetrable. Not by a long shot. A main battle tank weighs about 65+ tons, and they are far from invulnerable.

    The blimp's main advantage is that it's a moving target in the sky. It's not easy to determine the speed and distance of an object in the air just by eyesight alone. The reason air show groups like the Blue Angels leave smoke plumes behind them when they perform is because it is very difficult for the audience to gauge the speed of a distant flying object with no frame of reference. Enemy snipers would need to figure out a way to determine the distance and speed with accuracy, so they know how far ahead to lead their shot.

    Sky snipers would also have to be trained to accommodate the speed of the aircraft when taking aim. But, they could have a panel of instruments at their station that told them the heading and measured wind speeds for them and such. That way the zeppelin is free to move without seriously affecting their accuracy. (As long as it's smooth and doesn't jolt or anything.)

    Or... better yet..... use automated guns. I think there are few cases where a human shooter would be a better shot than a machine. Just have a human operator paint the target with a laser, and then a computer controlled semiautomatic gun calculates the range, velocity, wind, etc, adjusts and shoots whatever that laser dot is covering.


    Also if we painted the underside black, and deployed them at night, then the enemy will need a spot light in order to shoot back (at least on moonless nights). The snipers could use thermal optics to find their quarry, since the ground gets very cold, but people are warm.




    If a sniper can shoot out, another sniper can shoot in, and if the compartment is armored the bullet will ricochet around inside and definitely hit somebody. The guy on the ground will have the more stabble shooting platform., and he WILL be concealed.
    If you're in the air, there's no need to armor the roof/ceiling, only the floor. And, if the roof isn't armored, then there's nothing to ricochet off of.




    Bringing bdown a derigible with automatic fire and/or RPGs (or a radio-controlled model airplane) ought to be a piece of cake. Given the height of some Afghan mountains one might be able to shoot down at the derigible.
    http://www.ciderpresspottery.com/ZLA...ep_at_war.html

    For this issue, lets examine how Zeppelins were used in WWI, when they were actually considered viable weapons.

    1) - They could fly at higher altitude than the planes of that time. (But not as high as the faster planes that became available by WWII.)

    2) - Generally they were deployed at night, because they were hard to spot. If used in Afghanistan, I would say their primary role should be moving troops around at night so they visit villages and potential targets without warning. That's not just because I question the integrity of villagers. It's because the enemy can't plan around things that happen unexpectedly. We can set up ambushes around routes we think they're traveling, and hit them when they think they're safe.

    3) - Their major vulnerability was incendiary rounds, because large sources of Helium were not yet available, and they had to use hydrogen instead. I doubt anyone would have bothered with incendiary rounds if it were easy to down a zeppelin just by filling it full of holes.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    The blimp's main advantage is that it's a moving target in the sky. It's not easy to determine the speed and distance of an object in the air just by eyesight alone. The reason air show groups like the Blue Angels leave smoke plumes behind them when they perform is because it is very difficult for the audience to gauge the speed of a distant flying object with no frame of reference. Enemy snipers would need to figure out a way to determine the distance and speed with accuracy, so they know how far ahead to lead their shot.
    It is a lot easier than you think. Come out and shoot sporting clays sometime, or trap or skeet.

    Those targets are as fast as a blimp and somewhat smaller, with unknown trajectories and often less than a second to acquire the target and shoot. If a Zeppelin is close enough for a sniper to use as a platform, I can hit it. With an automatic weapon I can bring it down.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Sky snipers would also have to be trained to accommodate the speed of the aircraft when taking aim. But, they could have a panel of instruments at their station that told them the heading and measured wind speeds for them and such. That way the zeppelin is free to move without seriously affecting their accuracy. (As long as it's smooth and doesn't jolt or anything.)
    There is nearly always buffeting wind in the mountains. A blimp would be a sitting duck.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Or... better yet..... use automated guns. I think there are few cases where a human shooter would be a better shot than a machine. Just have a human operator paint the target with a laser, and then a computer controlled semiautomatic gun calculates the range, velocity, wind, etc, adjusts and shoots whatever that laser dot is covering.
    Sure, the Abrams tank has a very effective fire control system. They would be fine with a cannon. Small arms is subject to a lot more variables.

    You be in the blimp. I'll shoot from the ground. I fell pretty safe. You shouldn't.


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Also if we painted the underside black, and deployed them at night, then the enemy will need a spot light in order to shoot back (at least on moonless nights). The snipers could use thermal optics to find their quarry, since the ground gets very cold, but people are warm.
    All he needs is a night sight, or just a good scope with a large objective lens. The engines and exhaust on the blimp will show up on IR just fine, so would the gondola.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    If you're in the air, there's no need to armor the roof/ceiling, only the floor. And, if the roof isn't armored, then there's nothing to ricochet off of.
    Aren't you forgetting the walls ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    1) - They could fly at higher altitude than the planes of that time. (But not as high as the faster planes that became available by WWII.)
    If you are using them as a sniper platform they cannot fly much higher than 5000 feet above ground level, and that is really too far.. They may not be able to get that high in mountainous terrain.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    2) - Generally they were deployed at night, because they were hard to spot. If used in Afghanistan, I would say their primary role should be moving troops around at night so they visit villages and potential targets without warning. That's not just because I question the integrity of villagers. It's because the enemy can't plan around things that happen unexpectedly. We can set up ambushes around routes we think they're traveling, and hit them when they think they're safe.
    Night vision in WWI was what the unaided eyeball could do.

    If you think you are going to sneak up on Taliban in a blimp, day or night, then you might want to consider camouflaging an elephant in a strawberry patch by painting the toenails red.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    3) - Their major vulnerability was incendiary rounds, because large sources of Helium were not yet available, and they had to use hydrogen instead. I doubt anyone would have bothered with incendiary rounds if it were easy to down a zeppelin just by filling it full of holes.
    Of course incendiary rounds would be the vulnerability then -- they were flying around with a bag of hydrogen. You don't have to "bother with incendiary rounds", they are very common -- tracers are sufficiently incendiary. Besides being no bother, they would be very effective, the natural choice for use against a bag of hydrogen. Your logic is badly flawed.

    The fact that helium would be used today only eliminates the self-threat from hydrogen. It does not make a blimp viable.

    This is ridiculous. If something as simple, and relatively inexpensive, as a blimp was really a good idea, don't you think it would already be in use ?
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    The blimp's main advantage is that it's a moving target in the sky. It's not easy to determine the speed and distance of an object in the air just by eyesight alone. The reason air show groups like the Blue Angels leave smoke plumes behind them when they perform is because it is very difficult for the audience to gauge the speed of a distant flying object with no frame of reference. Enemy snipers would need to figure out a way to determine the distance and speed with accuracy, so they know how far ahead to lead their shot.
    It is a lot easier than you think. Come out and shoot sporting clays sometime, or trap or skeet.

    Those targets are as fast as a blimp and somewhat smaller, with unknown trajectories and often less than a second to acquire the target and shoot. If a Zeppelin is close enough for a sniper to use as a platform, I can hit it. With an automatic weapon I can bring it down.
    Have you ever tried to shoot skeet at a distance of 5000 feet with a sniper rifle? If I understand you right, you're not just suggesting that they're going to hit the blimp, but a specific part of the blimp, a human sniper riding in the passenger compartment of the blimp.

    Hitting the blimp itself is like hitting the broadside of a flying barn, but I think we've already established that bringing it down isn't as simple as just peppering it with a few bullets.




    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Or... better yet..... use automated guns. I think there are few cases where a human shooter would be a better shot than a machine. Just have a human operator paint the target with a laser, and then a computer controlled semiautomatic gun calculates the range, velocity, wind, etc, adjusts and shoots whatever that laser dot is covering.
    Sure, the Abrams tank has a very effective fire control system. They would be fine with a cannon. Small arms is subject to a lot more variables.

    You be in the blimp. I'll shoot from the ground. I fell pretty safe. You shouldn't.

    I am shooting down at you from an elevated position, behind cover, and you feel safe?



    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Also if we painted the underside black, and deployed them at night, then the enemy will need a spot light in order to shoot back (at least on moonless nights). The snipers could use thermal optics to find their quarry, since the ground gets very cold, but people are warm.
    All he needs is a night sight, or just a good scope with a large objective lens. The engines and exhaust on the blimp will show up on IR just fine, so would the gondola.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    If you're in the air, there's no need to armor the roof/ceiling, only the floor. And, if the roof isn't armored, then there's nothing to ricochet off of.
    Aren't you forgetting the walls ?
    If I am above you, and you manage to get a bullet through the window, then most likely it will hit the ceiling instead of a wall. Even if it does hit a wall, it will still tend to deflect upwards when it ricochets off that wall.


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    1) - They could fly at higher altitude than the planes of that time. (But not as high as the faster planes that became available by WWII.)
    If you are using them as a sniper platform they cannot fly much higher than 5000 feet above ground level, and that is really too far.. They may not be able to get that high in mountainous terrain.
    I don't know what altitudes are possible for a zeppelin. I do know that NASA has balloons that can sustain an 4 ton payload at an altitude of 26 miles for 2 weeks. Not sure how much of that technology could be translated to a zeppelin.

    http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/balloons.html


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    2) - Generally they were deployed at night, because they were hard to spot. If used in Afghanistan, I would say their primary role should be moving troops around at night so they visit villages and potential targets without warning. That's not just because I question the integrity of villagers. It's because the enemy can't plan around things that happen unexpectedly. We can set up ambushes around routes we think they're traveling, and hit them when they think they're safe.
    Night vision in WWI was what the unaided eyeball could do.

    If you think you are going to sneak up on Taliban in a blimp, day or night, then you might want to consider camouflaging an elephant in a strawberry patch by painting the toenails red.
    The problem Green Berets have been encountering when they go out to visit the local villages was that any time they hopped in their Humvees to go somewhere, a series of spotters would get on the radio and relay their location and heading. So, basically they can't surprise anyone by showing up unexpectedly because every minute of travel is getting broadcast out. In a situation like that, you can expect to run into IED's that have been set up the same day, because the enemy knows where you're going so far in advance.

    I'm not suggesting that a zeppelin could ninja up an enemy while they're sleeping and suddenly leap out of the shadows. I'm suggesting that it could lose the spotters, so nobody knows where you're going, or where you'll turn up next.

    I like what Johny Depp says in Public Enemy "I hit any bank I want any time. They got to be at every bank all the time."


    Forcing an enemy to cover a large number of positions simultaneously spreads their forces thin. It makes them seem less powerful.


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    3) - Their major vulnerability was incendiary rounds, because large sources of Helium were not yet available, and they had to use hydrogen instead. I doubt anyone would have bothered with incendiary rounds if it were easy to down a zeppelin just by filling it full of holes.
    Of course incendiary rounds would be the vulnerability then -- they were flying around with a bag of hydrogen. You don't have to "bother with incendiary rounds", they are very common -- tracers are sufficiently incendiary. Besides being no bother, they would be very effective, the natural choice for use against a bag of hydrogen. Your logic is badly flawed.

    The fact that helium would be used today only eliminates the self-threat from hydrogen. It does not make a blimp viable.
    You're not getting the point. They would not have bothered to use incendiary rounds if conventional rounds were working. Clearly they weren't working. Lighting the Hydrogen on fire was the only way to get it to leak out fast enough to make the zeppelin crash during a battle. Even then they still stayed up for short time.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I don't know what altitudes are possible for a zeppelin. I do know that NASA has balloons that can sustain an 4 ton payload at an altitude of 26 miles for 2 weeks. Not sure how much of that technology could be translated to a zeppelin.

    http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/balloons.html
    Did you read that article ? Those are terribly fragile weather balloons.

    To support 4 tons, including gas and superstructure, at 26 miles you need to displace a bit more than 1.25 million cubic meters -- that is a cube about 107 meters (more than a football field) on a side.

    4 tons is slightly more than a standard pickup truck. Armor is quite heavy.

    If your Zeppelin is such a great idea, why are Zeppelins not already in use ? The idea would be pretty obvious if not so damn ludicrous.
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    On the snipers.... I think I've allowed myself to become unnecessarily pigeon-holed. Most aircraft are deployed with more than one weapon in their arsenal, so probably a zeppelin would also have a few missiles and some automatic guns too.

    The snipers are just a cool thing to put in there. Their role would be like police snipers. Their job is to be used when you're trying secure an area you've already got subdued by other means, tell them you've got them surrounded, etc...... maybe a little too situational sometimes. If the enemy brings snipers of their own, you missile those guys to death or something. (Why meet them on an even playing field?)

    A lot of the effectiveness of the US military is that it has many specialized tools that it uses in concert with each other. Nothing stops using both Zeppelins and predator drones in the same battle.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I don't know what altitudes are possible for a zeppelin. I do know that NASA has balloons that can sustain an 4 ton payload at an altitude of 26 miles for 2 weeks. Not sure how much of that technology could be translated to a zeppelin.

    http://www.csbf.nasa.gov/balloons.html
    Did you read that article ? Those are terribly fragile weather balloons.

    To support 4 tons, including gas and superstructure, at 26 miles you need to displace a bit more than 1.25 million cubic meters -- that is a cube about 107 meters (more than a football field) on a side.

    4 tons is slightly more than a standard pickup truck. Armor is quite heavy.
    I pointed it out because it shows what is possible at the extreme. Clearly a modern zeppelin, built to be robust, would not fly at 26 miles. Would 10 miles be enough?

    Probably it would fall somewhere between the two extremes of design, between a 1917 warship using cow bladders as balloons, and a NASA balloon using fragile plastics. My point was that the associated technologies and materials have certainly improved. Plastics can do very interesting things today.



    If your Zeppelin is such a great idea, why are Zeppelins not already in use ? The idea would be pretty obvious if not so damn ludicrous.
    Lynn Fox pointed out earlier that actually, some variation of the idea already is in use.

    Whether the idea is worth trying the way I'm suggesting just depends how expensive it is. Inexpensive failures aren't exactly a black eye on the career of the military leader who decides to try them.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Also if we painted the underside black, and deployed them at night, then the enemy will need a spot light in order to shoot back (at least on moonless nights). The snipers could use thermal optics to find their quarry, since the ground gets very cold, but people are warm.
    All he needs is a night sight, or just a good scope with a large objective lens. The engines and exhaust on the blimp will show up on IR just fine, so would the gondola.
    In the middle of Afghanistan, with no reliable source of electricity, do you think that guy's going to leave his IR optics turned on all night every night so he can see if a zeppelin happens by?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    A lot of the effectiveness of the US military is that it has many specialized tools that it uses in concert with each other.
    A lot of the effectiveness is due to U.S. engineers who understand combat requirements and physics.

    You are lining in a fantasy world. Airships can have a role. Direct involvement in combat is not that role.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airship
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    Lynn Fox pointed out earlier that actually, some variation of the idea already is in use.
    Here's what's being used now.
    http://www.lockheedmartin.com/produc...tat/index.html

    In good weather they are a definite deterrent since they can over watch over a large area. If nothing else it probably forced the enemy into hasty and longer range attacks both of which reduced their effectiveness.

    On a river patrol one night (I was duel hatted as a Riveron liaison) one astute sailor pointed out that the balloon might sometimes help the enemy because they could be used as an aiming stake for hasty rocket shots into the forward operating base.
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    I think the parents of the 9 Kunar children that were murdered in afghanistan would have prefered their children to be murdered from invaders flaoting around in a baloon, using a platform floating in the wind like a nice cloud is a kinder gentler way to murder people.

    The advantage of a unmanned remote blimp/zepplin for an evil occupational force of invaders like NATO (or CHina if it were to invade the US and fight local militias)is that it could offer a target for freedom fighters defending their homeland to shoot at, thereby giving intelligence to the evil occupiers about where the local patriots are located. Or use it as a decoy so people think area X is the area under surveillance while predator/satelite focus on region Y.

    My favorite would be a gigantic tripod like the last War of the worlds movie(but with conventional weapons), make it 300 feet high, at least you get some entertainment value and maybe a shot at the guiness book of world records for the highest land walking vehicle. Maybe 6 giant legs would be better in case an IED scraps one leg so it has a chance of not falling.
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    That was a joke right? The smiley face implied that?
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    A lot of the effectiveness of the US military is that it has many specialized tools that it uses in concert with each other.
    A lot of the effectiveness is due to U.S. engineers who understand combat requirements and physics.

    You are lining in a fantasy world. Airships can have a role. Direct involvement in combat is not that role.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airship
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiki section on WWI

    The Zeppelins were initially immune to attack by aircraft and antiaircraft guns: as the pressure in their envelopes was only just higher than ambient, holes had little effect. But once incendiary bullets were developed and used against them, their flammable hydrogen lifting gas made them vulnerable at lower altitudes. Several were shot down in flames by British defenders, and others crashed en route. They then started flying higher and higher above the range of other aircraft, but this made their bombing accuracy even worse and success harder to achieve.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airship#World_War_I

    That indicates to me that a helium filled zeppelin would be virtually immune to attack by small arms fire. The best the enemy could do would be to try and shoot through the walls of the crew compartment and kill the human pilots. I'm not sure how much of a heat signature it takes for an AA missile to hit something, though. Certainly it wouldn't be throwing off as much heat as a helicopter.

    Against anything the Taliban is likely to have, it would be a hovering fortress.

    Here's another exerpt:

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki Article
    A series of structural vulnerability tests were done by the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency DERA on a Skyship 600, an earlier airship built by the Munk team to a similar pressure-stabilised design. Several hundred high-velocity bullets were fired through the hull, and even two hours later the vehicle would have been able to return to base. The airship is virtually impervious to automatic rifle and mortar fire: ordnance passes through the envelope without causing critical helium loss. In all instances of light armament fire evaluated under both test and live conditions, the vehicle was able to complete its mission and return to base. The internal hull pressure is maintained at only 1–2% above surrounding air pressure, the vehicle is highly tolerant to physical damage or to attack by small-arms fire or missile
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airship#Safety
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    I think the parents of the 9 Kunar children that were murdered in afghanistan would have prefered their children to be murdered from invaders flaoting around in a baloon, using a platform floating in the wind like a nice cloud is a kinder gentler way to murder people.
    My hope would be that having people in a zeppelin closer to the action, and possibly armed with weapons that are more precise than just missiles, maybe fewer children would get shot.
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    Alright, this discussion is so dead now. Let's see if we can get some controversy going again.

    Suppose the current weapons of the Taliban aren't the only ones they ever get. Maybe some foreign power who wants us to fail decides to provide them with something new, like maybe radar guided, or laser guided missiles? (Not unlike the USA providing Taliban with anti helicopter rockets in the 80's to help them defeat Russia.)

    So, if the military did initiate a zeppelin program, how long do you think they would remain effective, before the enemy found a way to counter them? If the advantage is not going to last, then the expense would not be justified.
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    High altitude Zepps could have a decent role in fighting insurgents. For aerial recon, an unmanned high altitude rigid airship (or semi rigid, maybe a plain old blimp) would be able to float over a target out of weapons range providing real time intel for extended periods of time. Minimal fuel expense would be a definite plus.

    Of course, combat Zepps would be a bit trickier. Payload is a concern. Helium is the obvious choice for lift. However, to achieve maximum payload weight, Hydrogen, about half the weight of Helium, might be a better choice.

    (Oh the Humanity!)
    That may not be the best idea.

    Ideally, you'd need a high altitude (unmanned?) zepp with several times the payload of the Predator or Warrior to make it cost effective.

    If this could be achieved, it may do an excellent job in fighting insurgencies. It would serve as a weapons platform, hovering high over a troubled area, able to rain fire from above a matter of minutes after a request was made. Since it could hover over the area, only needing to expend fuel to correct for winds, it would be able to stay over a target for days(?) at a time and provide immediate close air support whenever needed.

    Sadly, i doubt Zepps could serve much of a role against a country with a coherent air force/ SAM network. At least, until we establish air superiority. During clean ups or peace keeping missions, they could be of use. Not too dissimilar from fighting insurgencies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sobek52

    Ideally, you'd need a high altitude (unmanned?) zepp with several times the payload of the Predator or Warrior to make it cost effective.

    If this could be achieved, it may do an excellent job in fighting insurgencies. It would serve as a weapons platform, hovering high over a troubled area, able to rain fire from above a matter of minutes after a request was made. Since it could hover over the area, only needing to expend fuel to correct for winds, it would be able to stay over a target for days(?) at a time and provide immediate close air support whenever needed.
    Hmmm.. I hadn't thought about the possibility of running them unmanned. I can only imagine how intimidating it would be to have a huge unmanned fortress hovering overhead for days at a time, watching through cameras to see if any insurgents decide to pay a visit, recording faces, maybe even listening to conversations.


    Sadly, i doubt Zepps could serve much of a role against a country with a coherent air force/ SAM network. At least, until we establish air superiority. During clean ups or peace keeping missions, they could be of use. Not too dissimilar from fighting insurgencies.
    Interesting observation, especially since the USA almost always does establish air superiority within the first few weeks of fighting.
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