Lockheed Martin To Build Giant Airship

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Lockheed Martin will build a prototype High Altitude Airship (HAA) under a $149.2 million contract awarded by the Missile Defense Agency, the company announced on Monday. The ship will be 400 feet long and about 140 feet in diameter with a volume of 3.7 million cubic feet, and will operate at altitudes up to 60,000 feet. The prototype is slated to fly in 2009. It will demonstrate launch and recovery, station-keeping and flight-control capabilities while carrying mission-reconfigurable payloads. It will be built in Lockheed Martin's facility in Akron. "The HAA delivers a persistent surveillance capability unmatched by any other platform," said Ron Browning, Lockheed Martin's leader of the project. It will support air and ground missile-defense needs and provide a near-space, multi-mission "guardian in the sky" that is easily relocatable and can be stationed where needed most, Browning said.