dirigibles were such a great idea the first, completely non-disastrous time around, Lockheed Martin and the US Army have teamed up to bring the quaint technology back into our hyper-modern era. The lighter-than-air vehicle got a new lease on unmanned flight life when it launched yesterday from its base in Akron, Ohio. The High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator (HALE-D for short) reached 32,000 ft during its maiden voyage before technical difficulties cut the test short, forcing an emergency landing in the deep woods of southwestern Pennsylvania. Despite the flight-aborting hiccup, the global security company is all smiles, citing the successful demonstration of "communications links, [the] unique propulsion system, solar array electricity generation [and] remote piloting communications." Future real-world versions of HALE-D could serve as a military "telecommunications relay system" over foreign terrain -- like Afghanistan -- where radio signals can't penetrate. The Defense Department contractor is currently retrieving the airship from its foresty crash pad, but you can bet some locals already called this close encounter in to the local papers. Skip past the break for Archer's take on our government's latest airborne effort.