The Airship’s Potential for Intertheater and Intratheater Airlift
Lt Col Donald E. Ryan Jr., USAF
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The airship is recommended as a suitable solution to the mid-term strategic transportation dilemma. The fundamentals of airship operation are described, its history in both war and peace discussed, and some current private and military airship activities mentioned. Recent technological breakthroughs in materials technology are discussed and the potential for government-sponsored research and development yielding equally great propulsion and cargo capacity dividends explored. A discussion of the potential threat environment of the early twenty-first century shows the airship, properly constructed and used, would likely be no more vulnerable than jet air lifters while offering transportation capabilities currently unavailable.