DARPA's Walrus program to develop and evaluate a very large airlift vehicle has moved forward; DARPA announced the contractors for the first phase of the program. Despite detailed early descriptions of "war-balloons" in late nineteenth century science fiction, this isn't your father's (not to mention great-grandfather's) dirigible airship. According to DARPA's press release, "the Walrus aircraft will be a heavier-than-air vehicle and will generate lift through a combination of aerodynamics, thrust vectoring and gas buoyancy generation and management."
The two contractors receiving Walrus phase I awards are:
- Lockheed Martin Corp., Advanced Development Programs, Palmdale, Calif., which will receive $2,989,779
- Aeros Aeronautical Systems Corp., Tarzana, Calif., which will receive $3,267,000
According to DARPA
The idea of using enormous dirigibles for heavy lifting in warfare is not a new idea. In his forgotten 1893 classic The Angel of the Revolution, George Griffith wrote about a coming World War fought with air-ships and war-balloons:
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.