Specially designed to hover at a height of over six miles on solar power, the Integrated Sensor Is the Structure (ISIS) is a fully-automated, high-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance blimp that gathers real-time radar data and feeds it to smart weapons and troops. The helium-filled blimp could take off from any permanent ground base in the U.S. and could reach conflict zones in 10 days, be they anywhere on the planet.
In the operational zone, the blimp makes use of solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Later, at night, it recombines the elements in a fuel cell to generate electrical energy. Since the blimp keeps hovering six miles up in the stratosphere, the ground-based missiles and air-to-air missiles will not be able to destroy it. Besides, it can change positions in a speedy way (100 knots) when it senses an attack in the offing.
DARPA states that the surveyor blimp touts an “unsurpassed situational awareness with a surveillance range of 187 miles for individuals on the ground and 373 miles for advanced cruise missiles.” That is impressive, to say the least.