We may see more airship proposals than actual airships 'round these parts, but it looks like this massive dirigible from Lockheed Martin will indeed be taking flight sooner rather than later, and could see action in Afghanistan by mid-2011. Dubbed the LEMV (or Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle), the airship is apparently "optionally manned," and can stay aloft at 20,000 feet for up to 21 days at a time, while also carrying a payload of up to 2,500 pounds. That relatively fast deployment is aided in part by the fact that the airship is basically a larger version of Lockheed's P-791 (twice as big, in fact), which has already flown six times and, as you can see in the video after the break, is pretty massive in its own right.

[Via The Register]

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US looking to deploy long-endurance hybrid airship over Afghanistan