Airships and Canada

There’s a certain attraction to these huge airships.  That attraction has both historical and current aspects.  Reading articles and viewing photos about airships, one wonders whether modern engineering and technology will allow for their general re-introduction and practical employment.  Could a suitably built airship serve in the Canadian Arctic as a transport or surveillance platform?  Lots of challenges in that inhospitable environment, and not just in the air.

Apparently the Royal Canadian Air Force recently had an aerostat capability (there’s a language there, of balloons, blimps, zeppelins and airships, that needs to be understood), believed to have been one of the Canadian Armed Forces’ surveillance systems in Afghanistan.  What happened to it?  Aerostats do show up in current RCAF thinking and writing, see the Air Force’s “Arctic Alternative Futures” and Defence Research & Development Canada’s “Air S&T Strategic Road Map Methodology.”

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Airlander 10: Aircraft leaves hangar for first time
Airlander 10: is this the dawning of a new age of the airship?”
The Airlander 10, the world’s largest aircraft, nicknamed the ‘flying bum,’ takes off for the first time

Colin Darlington

Colin Darlington is a retired naval officer of the Canadian Armed Forces. This work is the sole opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia.