US Suspends Air Raids - History

May 13, 1965

US Suspends Air Raids

F-100 Planes over Vietnam

The US suspends air raids on North Vietnam, hoping for a peaceful overture from the North Vietnamese. At the same time, the US launches a diplomatic offensive that failed.

President Johnson remained very divided on how to proceed. He was not optimistic that the US could be victorious but was not willing to be defeated either. Johnson hoped he could negotiate with the North Vietnamese to find a negotiated solution. He therefore suggested the idea of bombing pause as part of a peace initiative that he called Operation Mayflower. Johnson instructed Fay Kohler the US Ambassador to the Soviet Union to ask the Soviets to pass on a message, asking them to show some reciprocity for the US halt. The North Vietnamese refused to accept the US message. Two days later Radio Hanoi attacked the US action as a mere ploy. Johnson ordered a resumption of the bombing.

The Israeli Raid Against the Iraqi Reactor - 40 Years Later: New Insights from the Archives

40 years after the Israeli Air Force launched its strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak, known as Operation Opera, new documents reveal how the Reagan Administration reacted to the news.

On 7 June 1981, the Israeli Air Force launched a strike against the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osirak, marking it as the first successful raid conducted against a ‘hostile’ nuclear reactor. The raid has received much attention in academic and political circles, especially in the context of the Iranian nuclear program, yet significantly, some important questions on Washington’s reaction to the raid and its impact on Reagan’s nonproliferation policy were left unanswered. We address these questions by exploring declassified documents from numerous archives in a forthcoming article in the Journal of Cold War Studies.[1]

Iraq’s nuclear program made critical progress in 1979 and 1980, with the assistance of nuclear technology imported from France and Italy. In July 1979, US diplomats told their Italian counterparts that it was an “American strong belief” that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear capability.

When Reagan won the November 1980 presidential elections, Iraq’s nuclear program was not on his agenda. His Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) transition team called for a clean, dramatic break from the policies of the outgoing Carter administration on nuclear proliferation.

On 7 June 1981, the day of the raid, a policy paper composed by the ‘Senior Interagency Group on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Cooperation’ (SIG) was submitted to the NSC. The paper crowned the administration’s nonproliferation efforts as a “key foreign policy objective” and called to revise the existing Carter era legislation, the 1978 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act (NNPA).

When the raid took place, it caught the administration by surprise, leading to an initially harsh reaction towards Israel. Secretary of State Alexander Haig told the Israelis that the raid caused a serious complication for the US, stating, “President Reagan thinks the same.” The Israelis learned from Haig and from another source that Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was promoting a tough, anti-Israel response. The raid was carried out by American F-16 jets and Israel was legally required not to use them to attack its neighbors, unless as an act of “legitimate self-defense. The administration suspended the delivery of additional jets, pending a legal review of the strike. Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ephraim Evron, informed Reagan that Israel was surprised and concerned by the unexpected suspension.

A week after the raid, the US attitude started to change. National Security Advisor Richard V. Allen informed Reagan that the administration was in fact “not required to make a legal determination on whether Israel violated US law,” stating the issue should be treated “as a political rather than a legal question.” Indian diplomats speculated that the suspension was perhaps an American goodwill gesture towards Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, designed to appease him and keep the peace process with him alive.

Administration officials were gradually becoming aware of a “gap” in the administration’s “institutional memory,” as termed by US ambassador to Israel, Sam Lewis. In a diplomatic cable, Lewis explained that the Carter administration had clear indications from Israel on its intention to launch a strike. Realizing that the raid should have been at least somewhat anticipated, the administration now chose to adopt a milder approach.

Within the administration, NSC staffers supported the softest line, stopping short of supporting of the raid. On the other hand, a key, pro-Israeli voice belonged to ACDA Director-Designate Eugene Rostow, who stated that Israel should be given an exemption from the NPT given the dangers of the region.

A few days into the crisis, Haig proposed a new strategy to deal with the raid. According to this strategy, Washington would harshly condemn Israel but would “draw the line on punishment.” Weinberger adhered to his support of a punitive response, voicing his criticism of the Israeli leadership in other unrelated instances in the months to come.

The diplomatic battle spilled over into the IAEA. Israel publicly criticized the agency for its shortcomings in Iraq, while agency officials staged their own counter campaign. In September 1981, the US delegation to the agency’s General Conference (GC) was instructed to anticipate a “severe attack” against Israel, and to “vigorously” object to a vote on the “suspension of technical aid” to Israel. In September 1982, as the diplomatic conflict continued, the delegation was ordered to leave the IAEA’s building, thus withdrawing from the agency, in a response to a vote rejecting the credentials of the Israeli delegation.

In Congress, the administration criticized the agency, raising “questions” on the “credibility and reliability” of its safeguards. [2] But the withdrawal was short-lived and Washington resumed full participation in the agency in February 1983, once Israel’s status was clarified. The administration explained this by underlining the agency’s critical role, and the lack of alternatives for its safeguards system. [3]

Our study underscores the hierarchy of goals within the administration’s foreign policy in the wake of the Osirak air raid. Notably, nonproliferation concerns had a shaky, yet steady, place, as the administration adopted an improvised, cautious approach to non-proliferation, rather than a well-ordered strategy. After some wrangling, Washington ostensibly worked to preserve the existing nonproliferation regime, seen as the only credible option at hand, rather than undermine it completely.

[1] Giordana Pulcini and Or Rabinowitz, “An ounce of prevention - a pound of cure? The Reagan Administration’s non-proliferation policy and the Osirak raid”, Journal of Cold War Studies, vol.23, n.2, Spring 2021.

[2] United States Executive Office of the president, “Report to the Congress Pursuant to Section 601 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978: For the Year Ending December 31, 1981.” (1982), p. 23-24, DNSA.

[3] Report to the Congress Pursuant to Section 601 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978: For the Year Ending December 31, 1982.” (January 1983). p. 5. DNSA.

Allied Force, Noble Anvil, Kosovo, 23 Mar 1999-10 Jun 1999

The Kosovo crisis began in early 1998 when large-scale fighting broke out, resulting in the displacement of some 300,000 people. A ceasefire was agreed in October 1998 which enabled refugees to find shelter, averting an impending humanitarian crisis over the winter. A Verification Mission was deployed under the auspices of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). However, violence continued and the situation worsened significantly in January 1999. A peace conference, held in Paris, broke up on 19 March with the refusal of the Yugoslav delegation to accept a peaceful settlement.

Operation Allied Force was a NATO contingency response aiming at ensuring full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1199 (Sept. 23rd 1998). Operation Noble Anvil was the American component of this NATO action to promote regional stability, cooperation and security, in support of the international community. At 1900 hours GMT on 24 March 1999, NATO forces began air operations over the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. These air strikes against Serbian military targets in the Former Yugoslavia sought to:

Ensure a verifiable stop to all military action and the immediate ending of violence and repression in Kosovo Withdrawal from Kosovo of Serbian military, police and para-military forces

Agreement to the stationing in Kosovo of an international military presence

Agreement to the unconditional and safe return of all refugees and displaced persons, and unhindered access to them by humanitarian aid organisations

Provide credible assurance of Serbian willingness to work on the basis of the Rambouillet Accords in the establishment of a political framework agreement for Kosovo in conformity with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

NATO was prepared to suspend its air strikes once Belgrade unequivocally accepted the above mentioned conditions and demonstrably began to withdraw its forces from Kosovo according to a precise and rapid timetable. This would follow the passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution requiring the withdrawal of Serb forces and the demilitarisation of Kosovo and encompassing the deployment of an international military force to safeguard the swift return of all refugees and displaced persons as well as the establishment of an international provisional administration of Kosovo.

The multinational force was tasked by NATO to bring a swift end to hostilities committed by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against ethnic Albanians in the southern province of Kosovo. The military objective of Operation Allied Force was to degrade and damage the military and security structure that Yugoslav President President Milosevic has used to depopulate and destroy the Albanian majority in Kosovo. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) delegated authority for the implementation of Operation Allied Force to the Commander in Chief of Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH), whose headquarters is in Naples, Italy. CINCSOUTH delegated control of the operation to the Commander, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe (COMAIRSOUTH), also based in Naples. Operational conduct of day-to-day missions was delegated to the Commander 5th Allied Tactical Air Force, at Vicenza, Italy.

The Yugoslavs apparently thought that they could wipe out the Kosovar Liberation Army in five to seven days as part of Operation Horseshoe. They thought thought once they did that, they could negotiate an arrangement for peace. The Serbian leadership apparently also assumed that NATO would never launch airstrikesm, and that once the airstrikes were launched they would be pinpricks lasting a few days. And they assumed that NATO would not remain unified long enough to carry out significant air attacks, which would quickly end due to political divisions within NATO.

Operation plan OPLAN 10601 "Allied Force" covered altogether five phases, which went from the transfer over a possible application outside of and within the air space of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia up to redeployment. The Application instruction (ACTORD) was effective from 13 October 1998, with simultaneous approval and preparatory exercises. The decision by NATO of 27 October 1998 was to maintain the ACTORD with execution dependent on further a NATO council decision. Constrained by the directive that collateral damage was to be avoided as far as possible, the concept of operations envisoned targeting based on a phasewise gradual, situation-adjusted application of NATO air forces, depending upon political and military developments. Operation Allied Force implemented, when ordered by the North Atlantic Council, phased operations which differ according to the attack targets and their geographical location.

Phase Zero - During Phase 0, released on 20 January 1999 as political signal, air forces of NATO were shifted for the accommodation of practice flight operation to their operational airfields.

Phase One -- Conduct limited air operations, such as air strikes against designated militarily significant targets. Phase 1 began on 24 March 1999 with attacks on the integrated air-defense system (e.g. weapon systems, radar facilities, control devices, airfield/aircraft) in the entire Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Phase Two -- Since the authorization of this phase on 27 March 1999 attacks extended to the security forces infrastructure military in Kosovo and reinforcement forces (e.g. headquarters, telecommunication installations, material and ammunition depot, systems for production and storage of fuel, barracks). The authorization of this phase took place with the unanimous resolution of the NATO allies.

Phase Three - The focus of this phase, which was not authorized, was the expansion of the air operations against a broad range of particularly important targets of military importance north of the 44th parallel in the entire Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. [24 Apr. 1999 NATO Press Conference] By a month into the air campaign it became apparent to NATO that a constrained, phased approach was not effective. At the insistence of US leaders, NATO widened the air campaign to produce the strategic effects in Serbia proper. At the April NATO Summit SACEUR was given the flexibility to strike at additional targets, within the existing authority of phase 1 and phase 2 of the operation that were necessary to keep the pressure up, both on the tactical side in Kosovo and on the strategic side elsewhere in Yugoslavia. Phase Four -- [support of stabilization operations?]

Phase Five -- [redeployment operations?]

The Phase One "Limited Air Response" provided a fast available, temporally limited and supported with small strength feasible air operations against military targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - exclusive to the use of precision standoff weapons. Additional operations outside of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were provided for observation and for the air defense of the air space of NATO nations and Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as to the protection of SFOR. The selection of target categories with the target of the minimization of collateral damage with at the same time high political and military significance. Operation execution was required within 48 hours after decision of the NATO advice possible. This Operations Concept was approved on 21 August 1998, with application instruction ACTORD from 13 October 1998 the decision NATO advice of 27 Octover 1998 for maintenance ACTORD with execution dependent on further NATO council decision.

The early goal of Phase One of the campaign was to attempt to force Yugoslavia to the bargaining table. Some countries in NATO argued that it might be possible to do that with a few days or a week of attacks, without demolishing the whole country. Some of the NATO partners were initially prepared to wage only a phased air operation to show NATO's resolve in the hope of achieving an early settlement. The campaign did not begin the way that America normally would apply air power -- massively, striking at strategic centers of gravity that support Milosevic and his oppressive regime. The phased concept of operations of Operation Allied Force did not apply principles of military operations such as surprise and the use of overwhelming force, and this cost time, effort and potentially additional casualties, the net result being that the campaign was undoubtedly prolonged. NATO did not succeed in this initial attempt to coerce Milosevic through airstrikes to accept its demands, nor did it succeed in preventing the FRY pursuing a campaign of ethnic separation.

Initial air operations started at an altitude that was estimated to be appropriate for the air defense threat that was expected, which allowed attacks against fixed targets with guided munitions in Kosovo and around Belgrade. Flying at or above 15,000 feet, attack aircraft were flying only at night and were instructed not to make multiple passes or other maneuvers that would entail unnecessary risks. NATO gained air superiority over Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia by degrading Milosevic's integrated air defence system. After allied planes mistakenly bombed two refugee convoys on the same day near the Kosovo town of Djakovica, new tactics were implemented with pilots flying lower to identify targets better. The net result was increased risk to allied pilots. Three NATO fighter-bombers were hit by ground fire in early May, and an American F-16 crashed with engine failure over Serbia as a result of Yugoslav anti-aircraft fire.

As Yugoslavia demonstrated that it was completely unmoved and intransigent, the pressure and the tempo of the attacks grew, with the decision at the NATO Summit here on 23 April 1999 to expand the campaign. As the campaign continued, the target list expanded into so-called sustainment targets -- petroleum, lines of communication, electrical grids, and command and control targets.

Air operations did not attack some strategic targets because of anxiety among NATO's 19 governments that further accidental civilian casualties could erode public support for the operation. On 07 May 1999 NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. The planned target was the Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement in Belgrade but the wrong building was attacked. Following NATO's mistaken bombing of the Chinese embassy, the alliance stopped hitting targets in the city for nearly two weeks while NATO authorities sought to ensure that another such mistake would not occur.

By mid-May NATO pilots had grown increasingly familiar with Kosovo's terrain and with the tactics of the Serbian Armed Forces on the ground. Pilots increasingly knew where Serbian forces were concentrated, which explained the change in the tactics of Serbian forces. They were operating in smaller and smaller units to make them harder to detect from the air. The downside for the Serbian forces is that this made them increasingly vulnerable to KLA ambushes, and it also made Serb forces less mobile to the benefit of those Kosovars still living within Kosovo.

Responsive or "Flex" targets were targets in the fielded forces, and normally not targets that would be a static target like a bridge or a petroleum area or a building. Such targets move around, and would be located by various means, such as a pilot report or JSTARS. NATO had aircraft in the area that can respond rapidly to attack such "Flex" targets. Quick response options for targets that may pop up via different means included aircraft holding on a tanker outside the area waiting for a target to occur, aircraft on the ground waiting on alert, or aircraft diverted from another engagement zone to a target of opportunity.

During the first two months of air operations the majority of days the weather was unfavorable or marginal. Persistent low cloud cover over Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia forced the cancellation of many planned strikes. NATO had the capability to operate through solid cloud cover, however for a variety of reasons there were restrictions on operations in bad weather. The single biggest reason was the commitment to ensuring strikes against only military and military-related targets. Flying below the clouds is more dangerous from a technical standpoint, putting NATO air crews down into the range of tactical surface to air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and small arms fire. It also highlights aircraft against the clouds, making them easier to see and target from the ground. Kosovo is a very mountainous area, and with the peaks of mountains frequently enveloped by the clouds, air crews were careful about avoiding terrain. The weather also provided some cover for the Serbian military to continue their attacks, and they took advantage of these times to conduct ground and air operations.

At the beginning of the operation, the weather was so poor that NATO could operate against fielded forces only about 15% of the time. Since those early days NATO adapted its tactics to take maximum advantage of its comprehensive array of intelligence gathering capabilities. By early May NATO was able to collect and distribute information efficiently so that air crews were able to react quickly to targets of opportunity. NATO also adjusted flying patterns to ensure a continuous presence of combat air power that is able to operate in the directed attacks against Serbian ground forces. NATO had planes circling, awaiting the call to strike from other aircraft flying forward air control spotter missions.

The fundamental factor in the conclusion of ALLIED FORCE was NATO's unity and resolve. NATO acted in a way that was tough, progressively tougher throughout the campaign. It failed to be deflected from its goals. This lesson was very clear to Milosevic, who had hoped he could outwait NATO. Secondly, both the precision and the persistence of the air campaign were fundamental factors in convincing Milosevic that it was time to end the fight. The air campaign, which started slowly but gathered momentum as it went on, became systematically damaging to his entire military infrastructure, not just the forces in the field in Kosovo, but throughout the entire country. The pounding his forces took during the last week had to have a huge impact on his determination to continue the fight. It had a big impact on the morale of the forces. Desertions were increasing, and there were increasing reports of lack of food, lack of fuel, lack of equipment, lack of will, lack of morale, and increasing dismay with the leadership not only of the forces but of the country, and an increasing feeling that they just saw no way out. And they realized, because of NATO's persistence, the situation was just going to get steadily worse.

On 3 June, President Slobodan Milosevic finally accepted peace terms presented by EU envoy President Martti Ahtisaari and Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin. With the authorisation of the United Nations on 10 June 1999, NATO forces deployed into Kosovo.

March 24 -- NATO launches air campaign, with the goal of crippling the Serbian war machine in Kosovo and enforcing compliance with the international peace plan drawn up at Rambouillet, France.

March 26 -- The first of a massive tide of refugees arrive in Albania.

March 27 -- A US F-117 Nighthawk Stealth fighter is lost near Belgrade but the pilot is recovered.

March 31 -- Three US soldiers are snatched by Serb forces after an incident on the Macedonian border.

April 1 -- Moderate Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova is shown on Serb television talking with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

April 13 -- Yugoslav forces mount a cross-border attack on a village in northern Albania.

April 14 -- Yugoslavia claims that rockets fired by allied jets killed 75 people in two separate refugee columns. NATO later admits accidentally hitting a civilian vehicle.

April 20 -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin says Moscow "cannot break with leading world powers" over Kosovo.

April 21 -- Two NATO missiles smash into the headquarters of Yugoslavia's ruling Socialist Party.

April 23 -- NATO bombs the headquarters of Serbian state television. NATO leaders in Washington rebuff as inadequate an offer by Milosevic to accept an "international presence" in Kosovo.

April 28 -- Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic is dismissed after he accuses the country's rulers of "lying to the people."

May 1 -- Forty-seven bus passengers are killed when NATO bombs a bridge in Kosovo.

May 2 -- Three captured US soldiers are released into the custody of US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

May 5 -- NATO suffers its first losses when the two-man crew of a US Apache attack helicopter die in a crash in Albania. Rugova is released by the Yugoslav authorities and flies to Rome.

May 6 -- Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) agree on a framework for a peace plan which calls for the return of all refugees and the deployment of an international "security" force in Kosovo.

May 8 -- The Chinese embassy in Belgrade is hit by NATO missiles which kill three people. NATO describes the bombing as a "tragic mistake" caused by "faulty information."

May 10 -- Yugoslavia begins proceedings before the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague, accusing NATO of genocide. Belgrade says it has begun pulling troops out of Kosovo.

May 13 -- NATO dismisses as insignificant a reported pullout by 250 Yugoslav troops.

May 14 -- At least 79 people are killed and 58 wounded when NATO missiles hit Korisa, a village in southern Kosovo.

May 19 -- Milosevic and Russia's Balkans envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin back a settlement of the Kosovo conflict within the framework of the United Nations.

May 21 -- Russia says mediation efforts with the West are deadlocked. A NATO bomb kills 10 inmates in a Pristina jail.

May 22 -- A UN humanitarian mission visits Kosovo, as NATO admits bombing a position held by the KLA.

May 23 -- Fighting flares on border between Serb forces and Albanian police. President Bill Clinton says he no longer rules out "other military options".

May 26 -- NATO agrees to boost the number of troops in a future Kosovo peacekeeping mission from 28,000 to 45,000.

May 27 -- Milosevic and four other top officials are indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.

May 29 -- Yugoslavia says it has accepted the Group of Eight principles for a peace deal in Kosovo.

May 30 -- NATO says it wants a clear, personal statement from Milosevic that he accepts alliance conditions before it will halt air raids. A German soldier dies when a tank crashes off a bridge in Albania.

May 31 -- At least 20 people are killed at a sanatorium at Surdulica, southern Serbia. NATO denies that its missles are responsible.

June 1 -- Belgrade says in a letter to Bonn that it "has accepted the G8 principles." European, US and Russian envoys meet in Bonn to hammer out a common policy for a peace mission to Belgrade.

June 2 -- The International Court of Justice rejects Yugoslavia's petition to order an end to NATO airstrikes. EU and Russian envoys travel to Belgrade for talks with Milosevic and hand him a peace plan worked out in Bonn with US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

June 3 -- Talks in Belgrade resume for a second session. A Russian spokesman in Moscow says Yugoslavia viewed the peace plan as a "realistic" way out of the Kosovo crisis.

June 9 -- NATO and Yugoslav military authorities sign an agreement on the withdrawal of Yugoslav security forces from Kosovo.

June 10 -- NATO suspends air strikes.

Collateral Damage Incidents

NATO has repeatedly denied that it deliberately attacks non-military buildings and insists that all possible precautions are taken to avoid civilian casualties. Serb officials put the death toll from the following incidents, most of which but not all NATO acknowledges as errors, at more than 460. Overall, they say, some 2,000 civilians have been killed since the start of the air campaign on March 24.

April 5 -- A 550-pound NATO bomb aimed at Yugoslav army barracks in Aleksinac in southern Serbia misses its target and lands in a residential area. Serbs put death toll at 17.

April 9 -- NATO hits homes near a telephone exchange in the Kosovo capital, Pristina. NATO said civilian casualties were possible but neither side provided a death toll.

April 12 -- A NATO pilot fires two missiles into a train crossing a bridge at Grdelicka Klisura in southern Serbia, killing 55 people, according to Belgrade. NATO insists the bridge, a key supply line for Yugoslav forces in Kosovo, was the target and that the pilot saw the train too late.

April 14 -- NATO bombs refugee convoys in the Djakovica region of south-east Kosovo, leaving 75 dead, according to Belgrade. NATO, without confirming the civilian toll, said it was targeting military vehicles but admitted hitting two convoys.

April 28 -- NATO, aiming for an army barracks in the Serb village of Surdulica (250 kms/150 miles south of Belgrade), bombs a residential area, leaving at least 20 civilians dead.

May 1 -- NATO bombs a bridge at Luzane near Pristina, killing 47 people aboard a bus which was travelling along it. NATO, without confirming the figure, admitted the following day having targetted the bridge without the intention of causing civilian casualties.

May 7 -- A NATO air raid hits central Nis in southeast Serbia, leaving at least 15 dead and 70 injured. NATO said its planes were aiming for a landing strip and a radio transmitter but that a cluster bomb had missed its mark.

May 8 -- NATO mistakenly attacks the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three journalists. The United States and NATO said the intended target was a Yugoslav building with military use, but US maps used in the planning of the operation were old and marked the embassy at a previous address.

May 13 -- NATO bombs the village of Korisa, leaving 87 civilians dead according to the Serbs. The allies claim that the civilians were being used as "human shields" and that Korisa was a legitimate military target.

May 20 -- A Belgrade hospital is hit by a missile at around 1 -- 00 a.m., killing three patients. NATO attributes the accident to a missile which went astray during an attack on a nearby military barracks.

May 21 -- NATO bombs Istok prison in north-west Kosovo. Alliance officials insist the prison was being used as an assembly point for Serb forces in the province. Serbs say at least 100 inmates and a prison officer were killed.

May 22 -- NATO admits bombing by mistake positions of the Kosovo Liberation Army at Kosare, near the border with Albania. Sources close to the KLA say seven guerillas were killed and 15 injured.

May 30 -- NATO bombs a highway bridge at Varvarin in a daytime raid in central Serbia. The Serbs claim 11 people died while attempting to cross the bridge in their cars. NATO has not confirmed whether there were cars on the bridge and insists the bridge was a legitimate military garget.

May 31 -- Missiles strike a sanatorium at Surdulica, southern Serbia, killing at least 20 people, according to the Serb authorities. NATO says it successfully attacked a military barracks in the town but refuses to confirm, or categorically deny, hitting the hospital.

May 31 -- A NATO bomb aimed at a military compound strikes a four-storey apartment block in the town of Novi Pazar. NATO confirms one of its bombs went astray and landed in a residential area. Serb authorities report 23 dead.

1 June -- A NATO bomb landed in a residential neighbourhood in the Serbian town of Novi Pazar.


Airship Edit

During the pioneer years of aeronautics, terms such as "airship", "air-ship", "air ship" and "ship of the air" meant any kind of navigable or dirigible flying machine. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] In 1919 Frederick Handley Page was reported as referring to "ships of the air," with smaller passenger types as "air yachts." [12] In the 1930s, large intercontinental flying boats were also sometimes referred to as "ships of the air" or "flying-ships". [13] [14] Nowadays the term "airship" is used only for powered, dirigible balloons, with sub-types being classified as rigid, semi-rigid or non-rigid. [3] Semi-rigid architecture is the more recent, following advances in deformable structures and the exigency of reducing weight and volume of the airships. They have a minimal structure that keeps the shape jointly with overpressure of the gas envelope. [15] [16]

Aerostat Edit

An aerostat is an aircraft that remains aloft using buoyancy or static lift, as opposed to the aerodyne, which obtains lift by moving through the air. Airships are a type of aerostat. [3] The term aerostat has also been used to indicate a tethered or moored balloon as opposed to a free-floating balloon. [17] Aerostats today are capable of lifting a payload of 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) to an altitude of more than 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) above sea level. [18] They can also stay in the air for extended periods of time, particularly when powered by an on-board generator or if the tether contains electrical conductors. [18] Due to this capability, aerostats can be used as platforms for telecommunication services. For instance, Platform Wireless International Corporation announced in 2001 that it would use a tethered 1,250 pounds (570 kg) airborne payload to deliver cellular phone service to a 140 miles (230 km) region in Brazil. [19] [20] The European Union's ABSOLUTE project was also reportedly exploring the use of tethered aerostat stations to provide telecommunications during disaster response. [21]

Dirigible Edit

Airships were originally called dirigible balloons, from the French ballon dirigeable often shortened to dirigeable (meaning "steerable", from the French diriger – to direct, guide or steer). This was the name that inventor Henri Giffard gave to his machine that made its first flight on 24 September 1852.

Blimp Edit

A blimp is a non-rigid aerostat. [22] In British usage it refers to any non-rigid aerostat, including barrage balloons and other kite balloons, having a streamlined shape and stabilising tail fins. [23]

Zeppelin Edit

The term zeppelin originally referred to airships manufactured by the German Zeppelin Company, which built and operated the first rigid airships in the early years of the twentieth century. The initials LZ, for Luftschiff Zeppelin (German for "Zeppelin airship"), usually prefixed their craft's serial identifiers.

Streamlined rigid (or semi-rigid) [ citation needed ] airships are often referred to as "Zeppelins", because of the fame that this company acquired due to the number of airships it produced. [24] [25]

Hybrid airship Edit

Hybrid airships fly with a positive aerostatic contribution, usually equal to the empty weight of the system, and the variable payload is sustained by propulsion or aerodynamic contribution. [26] [27]

Airships are classified according to their method of construction into rigid, semi-rigid and non-rigid types. [3]

Rigid airships Edit

A rigid airship has a rigid framework covered by an outer skin or envelope. The interior contains one or more gasbags, cells or balloons to provide lift. Rigid airships are typically unpressurised and can be made to virtually any size. Most, but not all, of the German Zeppelin airships have been of this type.

Semi-rigid airships Edit

A semi-rigid airship has some kind of supporting structure but the main envelope is held in shape by the internal pressure of the lifting gas. Typically the airship has an extended, usually articulated keel running along the bottom of the envelope to stop it kinking in the middle by distributing suspension loads into the envelope, while also allowing lower envelope pressures.

Non-rigid airships Edit

Non-rigid airships are often called "blimps". Most, but not all, of the American Goodyear airships have been blimps.

A non-rigid airship relies entirely on internal gas pressure to retain its shape during flight. Unlike the rigid design, the non-rigid airship's gas envelope has no compartments. It typically has smaller internal bags or "ballonets". At sea level, these are filled with air. As altitude is increased, the lifting gas expands and air from the ballonets is expelled through valves to maintain the hull's shape. To return to sea level, the process is reversed: air is forced back into the ballonets by scooping air from the engine exhaust and using auxiliary blowers.

Envelope Edit

The envelope itself is the structure, including textiles that contain the buoyant gas. Internally two ballonets placed in the front part and in the rear part of the hull contains air. [28]

The problem of the exact determination of the pressure on an airship envelope is still problematic and has fascinated major scientists such as Theodor Von Karman. [29]

A few airships have been metal-clad, with rigid and nonrigid examples made. Each kind used a thin gastight metal envelope, rather than the usual rubber-coated fabric envelope. Only four metal-clad ships are known to have been built, and only two actually flew: Schwarz's first aluminum rigid airship of 1893 collapsed, [30] while his second flew [31] the nonrigid ZMC-2 built for the U.S. Navy flew from 1929 to 1941 when it was scrapped as too small for operational use on anti-submarine patrols [32] while the 1929 nonrigid Slate Aircraft Corporation City of Glendale collapsed on its first flight attempt. [33] [34]

Lifting gas Edit

Thermal airships use a heated lifting gas, usually air, in a fashion similar to hot air balloons. The first to do so was flown in 1973 by the British company Cameron Balloons. [35]

Gondola Edit

Propulsion and control Edit

Small airships carry their engine(s) in their gondola. Where there were multiple engines on larger airships, these were placed in separate nacelles, termed power cars or engine cars. [36] To allow asymmetric thrust to be applied for maneuvering, these power cars were mounted towards the sides of the envelope, away from the center line gondola. This also raised them above the ground, reducing the risk of a propeller strike when landing. Widely spaced power cars were also termed wing cars, from the use of "wing" to mean being on the side of something, as in a theater, rather than the aerodynamic device. [36] These engine cars carried a crew during flight who maintained the engines as needed, but who also worked the engine controls, throttle etc., mounted directly on the engine. Instructions were relayed to them from the pilot's station by a telegraph system, as on a ship. [36]

The main advantage of airships with respect to any other vehicle is of environmental nature. They require less energy to remain in flight, if compared to any other air vehicle. [37] [38] A solar-powered airship would be estimated to only use 8 percent of the fuel required by jet aircraft. [39] Furthermore, utilizing the jet stream could allow for a faster and more energy-efficient cargo transport alternative to maritime shipping. [40] The International Air Transport Association has called for increasing the use of airships in an effort to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, claiming 80-90% reductions relative to conventional aircraft. [41] This is one of the reasons why China has embraced their use recently. [42]

Early pioneers Edit

17th–18th centuries Edit

In 1670, the Jesuit Father Francesco Lana de Terzi, sometimes referred to as the "Father of Aeronautics", [43] published a description of an "Aerial Ship" supported by four copper spheres from which the air was evacuated. Although the basic principle is sound, such a craft was unrealizable then and remains so to the present day, since external air pressure would cause the spheres to collapse unless their thickness was such as to make them too heavy to be buoyant. [44] A hypothetical craft constructed using this principle is known as a Vacuum airship.

In 1709, the Brazilian-Portuguese Jesuit priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão made a hot air balloon, the Passarola, ascend to the skies, before an astonished Portuguese court. It would have been on August 8, 1709, when Father Bartolomeu de Gusmão held, in the courtyard of the Casa da Índia, in the city of Lisbon, the first Passarola demonstration. [45] [46] The balloon caught fire without leaving the ground, but, in a second demonstration, it rose to 95 meters in height. It was a small balloon of thick brown paper, filled with hot air, produced by the "fire of material contained in a clay bowl embedded in the base of a waxed wooden tray". The event was witnessed by King John V of Portugal and the future Pope Innocent XIII. [47]

A more practical dirigible airship was described by Lieutenant Jean Baptiste Marie Meusnier in a paper entitled "Mémoire sur l’équilibre des machines aérostatiques" (Memorandum on the equilibrium of aerostatic machines) presented to the French Academy on 3 December 1783. The 16 water-color drawings published the following year depict a 260-foot-long (79 m) streamlined envelope with internal ballonnets that could be used for regulating lift: this was attached to a long carriage that could be used as a boat if the vehicle was forced to land in water. The airship was designed to be driven by three propellers and steered with a sail-like aft rudder. In 1784, Jean-Pierre Blanchard fitted a hand-powered propeller to a balloon, the first recorded means of propulsion carried aloft. In 1785, he crossed the English Channel in a balloon equipped with flapping wings for propulsion and a birdlike tail for steering. [48]

19th century Edit

The 19th century saw continued attempts to add methods of propulsion to balloons. The Australian William Bland sent designs for his "Atmotic Airship" to the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851, where a model was displayed. This was an elongated balloon with a steam engine driving twin propellers suspended underneath. The lift of the balloon was estimated as 5 tons and the car with the fuel as weighing 3.5 tons, giving a payload of 1.5 tons. [49] [50] Bland believed that the machine could be driven at 80 km/h (50 mph) and could fly from Sydney to London in less than a week.

In 1852, Henri Giffard became the first person to make an engine-powered flight when he flew 27 km (17 mi) in a steam-powered airship. [51] Airships would develop considerably over the next two decades. In 1863, Solomon Andrews flew his aereon design, an unpowered, controllable dirigible in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and offered the device to the U.S. Military during the Civil War. [52] He flew a later design in 1866 around New York City and as far as Oyster Bay, New York. This concept used changes in lift to provide propulsive force, and did not need a powerplant. In 1872, the French naval architect Dupuy de Lome launched a large navigable balloon, which was driven by a large propeller turned by eight men. [53] It was developed during the Franco-Prussian war and was intended as an improvement to the balloons used for communications between Paris and the countryside during the siege of Paris, but was completed only after the end of the war.

In 1872, Paul Haenlein flew an airship with an internal combustion engine running on the coal gas used to inflate the envelope, the first use of such an engine to power an aircraft. [54] [55] Charles F. Ritchel made a public demonstration flight in 1878 of his hand-powered one-man rigid airship, and went on to build and sell five of his aircraft. [55]

In 1874, Micajah Clark Dyer filed U.S. Patent 154,654 "Apparatus for Navigating the Air". [56] [57] [58] It is believed successful trial flights were made between 1872–1874, but detailed dates are not available. [59] The apparatus used a combination of wings and paddle wheels for navigation and propulsion.

In operating the machinery the wings receive an upward and downward motion, in the manner of the wings of a bird, the outer ends yielding as they are raised, but opening out and then remaining rigid while being depressed. The wings, if desired, may be set at an angle so as to propel forward as well as to raise the machine in the air. The paddle-wheels are intended to be used for propelling the machine, in the same way that a vessel is propelled in water. An instrument answering to a rudder is attached for guiding the machine. A balloon is to be used for elevating the flying ship, after which it is to be guided and controlled at the pleasure of its occupants. [60]

More details can be found in the book about his life. [61]

In 1883, the first electric-powered flight was made by Gaston Tissandier, who fitted a 1.5 hp (1.1 kW) Siemens electric motor to an airship.

The first fully controllable free flight was made in 1884 by Charles Renard and Arthur Constantin Krebs in the French Army airship La France. La France made the first flight of an airship that landed where it took off the 170 ft (52 m) long, 66,000 cu ft (1,900 m 3 ) airship covered 8 km (5.0 mi) in 23 minutes with the aid of an 8.5 hp (6.3 kW) electric motor, [62] and a 435 kg (959 lb) battery. It made seven flights in 1884 and 1885. [55]

In 1888, the design of the Campbell Air Ship, designed by Professor Peter C. Campbell, was submitted to aeronautic engineer Carl Edgar Myers for examination. [63] After his approval it was built by the Novelty Air Ship Company. It was lost at sea in 1889 while being flown by Professor Hogan during an exhibition flight. [64]

From 1888 to 1897, Friedrich Wölfert built three airships powered by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft-built petrol engines, the last of which caught fire in flight and killed both occupants in 1897. [65] The 1888 version used a 2 hp (1.5 kW) single cylinder Daimler engine and flew 10 km (6 mi) from Canstatt to Kornwestheim. [66] [67]

In 1897, an airship with an aluminum envelope was built by the Hungarian-Croatian engineer David Schwarz. It made its first flight at Tempelhof field in Berlin after Schwarz had died. His widow, Melanie Schwarz, was paid 15,000 marks by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin to release the industrialist Carl Berg from his exclusive contract to supply Schwartz with aluminium. [68]

From 1897 to 1899, Konstantin Danilewsky, medical doctor and inventor from Kharkiv (now Ukraine, then Russian Empire), built four muscle-powered airships, of gas volume 150–180 m 3 (5,300–6,400 cu ft). About 200 ascents were made within a framework of experimental flight program, at two locations, with no significant incidents [69] [70]

Early 20th century Edit

In July 1900, the Luftschiff Zeppelin LZ1 made its first flight. This led to the most successful airships of all time: the Zeppelins, named after Count von Zeppelin who began working on rigid airship designs in the 1890s, leading to the flawed LZ1 in 1900 and the more successful LZ2 in 1906. The Zeppelin airships had a framework composed of triangular lattice girders covered with fabric that contained separate gas cells. At first multiplane tail surfaces were used for control and stability: later designs had simpler cruciform tail surfaces. The engines and crew were accommodated in "gondolas" hung beneath the hull driving propellers attached to the sides of the frame by means of long drive shafts. Additionally, there was a passenger compartment (later a bomb bay) located halfway between the two engine compartments.

Alberto Santos-Dumont was a wealthy young Brazilian who lived in France and had a passion for flying. He designed 18 balloons and dirigibles before turning his attention to fixed-winged aircraft. [71] On 19 October 1901 he flew his airship Number 6, from the Parc Saint Cloud to and around the Eiffel Tower and back in under thirty minutes. [72] This feat earned him the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize of 100,000 francs. Many inventors were inspired by Santos-Dumont's small airships . Many airship pioneers, such as the American Thomas Scott Baldwin, financed their activities through passenger flights and public demonstration flights. Stanley Spencer built the first British airship with funds from advertising baby food on the sides of the envelope. [73] Others, such as Walter Wellman and Melvin Vaniman, set their sights on loftier goals, attempting two polar flights in 1907 and 1909, and two trans-Atlantic flights in 1910 and 1912. [74]

In 1902 the Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres Quevedo published details of an innovative airship design in Spain and France. With a non-rigid body and internal bracing wires, it overcame the flaws of these types of aircraft as regards both rigid structure (zeppelin type) and flexibility, providing the airships with more stability during flight, and the capability of using heavier engines and a greater passenger load. In 1905, helped by Captain A. Kindelán, he built the airship "España" at the Guadalajara military base. Next year he patented his design without attracting official interest. In 1909 he patented an improved design that he offered to the French Astra company, who started mass-producing it in 1911 as the Astra-Torres airship. The distinctive three-lobed design was widely used during the Great War by the Entente powers.

Other airship builders were also active before the war: from 1902 the French company Lebaudy Frères specialized in semirigid airships such as the Patrie and the République, designed by their engineer Henri Julliot, who later worked for the American company Goodrich the German firm Schütte-Lanz built the wooden-framed SL series from 1911, introducing important technical innovations another German firm Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft built the Parseval-Luftschiff (PL) series from 1909, [75] and Italian Enrico Forlanini's firm had built and flown the first two Forlanini airships. [76]

On May 12, 1902, the inventor and Brazilian aeronaut Augusto Severo de Albuquerque Maranhao and his French mechanic, Georges Saché, died when they were flying over Paris in the airship called Pax. A marble plaque at number 81 of the Avenue du Maine in Paris, commemorates the location of Augusto Severo accident. [77] [78] The Catastrophe of the Balloon "Le Pax" is a 1902 short silent film recreation of the catastrophe, directed by Georges Méliès.

In Britain, the Army built their first dirigible, the Nulli Secundus, in 1907. The Navy ordered the construction of an experimental rigid in 1908. Officially known as His Majesty's Airship No. 1 and nicknamed the Mayfly, it broke its back in 1911 before making a single flight. Work on a successor did not start until 1913.

In 1910 Walter Wellman unsuccessfully attempted an aerial crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in the airship America.

World War I Edit

The prospect of airships as bombers had been recognized in Europe well before the airships were up to the task. H. G. Wells' The War in the Air (1908) described the obliteration of entire fleets and cities by airship attack. The Italian forces became the first to use dirigibles for a military purpose during the Italo–Turkish War, the first bombing mission being flown on 10 March 1912. [79] World War I marked the airship's real debut as a weapon. The Germans, French and Italians all used airships for scouting and tactical bombing roles early in the war, and all learned that the airship was too vulnerable for operations over the front. The decision to end operations in direct support of armies was made by all in 1917. [80] [81]

Many in the German military believed they had found the ideal weapon with which to counteract British naval superiority and strike at Britain itself, while more realistic airship advocates believed the zeppelin's value was as a long range scout/attack craft for naval operations. Raids on England began in January 1915 and peaked in 1916: following losses to the British defenses only a few raids were made in 1917–18, the last in August 1918. [82] Zeppelins proved to be terrifying but inaccurate weapons. Navigation, target selection and bomb-aiming proved to be difficult under the best of conditions, and the cloud cover that was frequently encountered by the airships reduced accuracy even further. The physical damage done by airships over the course of the war was insignificant, and the deaths that they caused amounted to a few hundred. [83] Nevertheless, the raid caused a significant diversion of British resources to defense efforts. The airships were initially immune to attack by aircraft and anti-aircraft guns: as the pressure in their envelopes was only just higher than ambient air, holes had little effect. But following the introduction of a combination of incendiary and explosive ammunition in 1916, their flammable hydrogen lifting gas made them vulnerable to the defending aeroplanes. Several were shot down in flames by British defenders, and many others destroyed in accidents. New designs capable of reaching greater altitude were developed, but although this made them immune from attack it made their bombing accuracy even worse.

Countermeasures by the British included sound detection equipment, searchlights and anti-aircraft artillery, followed by night fighters in 1915. One tactic used early in the war, when their limited range meant the airships had to fly from forward bases and the only zeppelin production facilities were in Friedrichshafen, was the bombing of airship sheds by the British Royal Naval Air Service. Later in the war, the development of the aircraft carrier led to the first successful carrier-based air strike in history: on the morning of 19 July 1918, seven Sopwith 2F.1 Camels were launched from HMS Furious and struck the airship base at Tønder, destroying zeppelins L 54 and L 60. [84]

The British Army had abandoned airship development in favour of aeroplanes before the start of the war, but the Royal Navy had recognized the need for small airships to counteract the submarine and mine threat in coastal waters. [85] Beginning in February 1915, they began to develop the SS (Sea Scout) class of blimp. These had a small envelope of 1,699–1,982 m 3 (60,000–70,000 cu ft) and at first used aircraft fuselages without the wing and tail surfaces as control cars. Later, more advanced blimps with purpose-built gondolas were used. The NS class (North Sea) were the largest and most effective non-rigid airships in British service, with a gas capacity of 10,200 m 3 (360,000 cu ft), a crew of 10 and an endurance of 24 hours. Six 230 lb (100 kg) bombs were carried, as well as three to five machine guns. British blimps were used for scouting, mine clearance, and convoy patrol duties. During the war, the British operated over 200 non-rigid airships. [86] Several were sold to Russia, France, the United States, and Italy. The large number of trained crews, low attrition rate and constant experimentation in handling techniques meant that at the war's end Britain was the world leader in non-rigid airship technology.

The Royal Navy continued development of rigid airships until the end of the war. Eight rigid airships had been completed by the armistice, (No. 9r, four 23 Class, two R23X Class and one R31 Class), although several more were in an advanced state of completion by the war's end. [87] Both France and Italy continued to use airships throughout the war. France preferred the non-rigid type, whereas Italy flew 49 semi-rigid airships in both the scouting and bombing roles. [88]

Aeroplanes had essentially replaced airships as bombers by the end of the war, and Germany's remaining zeppelins were destroyed by their crews, scrapped or handed over to the Allied powers as war reparations. The British rigid airship program, which had mainly been a reaction to the potential threat of the German airships, was wound down.

The interwar period Edit

Britain, the United States and Germany built rigid airships between the two world wars. Italy and France made limited use of Zeppelins handed over as war reparations. Italy, the Soviet Union, the United States and Japan mainly operated semi-rigid airships.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was not allowed to build airships of greater capacity than a million cubic feet. Two small passenger airships, LZ 120 Bodensee and its sister ship LZ 121 Nordstern, were built immediately after the war but were confiscated following the sabotage of the wartime Zeppelins that were to have been handed over as war reparations: Bodensee was given to Italy and Nordstern to France. On May 12, 1926, the Italian built semi-rigid airship Norge was the first aircraft to fly over the North Pole.

The British R33 and R34 were near-identical copies of the German L 33, which had come down almost intact in Yorkshire on 24 September 1916. [89] Despite being almost three years out of date by the time they were launched in 1919, they became two of the most successful airships in British service. The creation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in early 1918 created a hybrid British airship program. The RAF was not interested in airships while the Admiralty was, so a deal was made where the Admiralty would design any future military airships and the RAF would handle manpower, facilities and operations. [90] On 2 July 1919, R34 began the first double crossing of the Atlantic by an aircraft. It landed at Mineola, Long Island on 6 July after 108 hours in the air the return crossing began on 8 July and took 75 hours. This feat failed to generate enthusiasm for continued airship development, and the British airship program was rapidly wound down.

During World War One, the U.S. Navy acquired its first airship, the DH-1, [91] but it was destroyed while being inflated shortly after delivery to the Navy. After the war, the U.S. Navy contracted to buy the R 38, which was being built in Britain, but before it was handed over it was destroyed because of a structural failure during a test flight. [92]

America then started constructing the USS Shenandoah, designed by the Bureau of Aeronautics and based on the Zeppelin L 49. [93] Assembled in Hangar No. 1 and first flown on 4 September 1923 [94] at Lakehurst, New Jersey, it was the first airship to be inflated with the noble gas helium, which was then so scarce that the Shenandoah contained most of the world's supply. A second airship, USS Los Angeles, was built by the Zeppelin company as compensation for the airships that should have been handed over as war reparations according to the terms of the Versailles Treaty but had been sabotaged by their crews. This construction order saved the Zeppelin works from the threat of closure. The success of the Los Angeles, which was flown successfully for eight years, encouraged the U.S. Navy to invest in its own, larger airships. When the Los Angeles was delivered, the two airships had to share the limited supply of helium, and thus alternated operating and overhauls. [95]

In 1922, Sir Dennistoun Burney suggested a plan for a subsidised air service throughout the British Empire using airships (the Burney Scheme). [90] Following the coming to power of Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government in 1924, the scheme was transformed into the Imperial Airship Scheme, under which two airships were built, one by a private company and the other by the Royal Airship Works under Air Ministry control. The two designs were radically different. The "capitalist" ship, the R100, was more conventional, while the "socialist" ship, the R101, had many innovative design features. Construction of both took longer than expected, and the airships did not fly until 1929. Neither airship was capable of the service intended, though the R100 did complete a proving flight to Canada and back in 1930. [96] On 5 October 1930, the R101, which had not been thoroughly tested after major modifications, crashed on its maiden voyage to India at Beauvais in France killing 48 of the 54 people aboard. Among the dead were the craft's chief designer and the Secretary of State for Air. The disaster ended British interest in airships.

The Locarno Treaties of 1925 lifted the restrictions on German airship construction, and the Zeppelin company started construction of the Graf Zeppelin (LZ 127), the largest airship that could be built in the company's existing shed, and intended to stimulate interest in passenger airships. The Graf Zeppelin burned blau gas, similar to propane, stored in large gas bags below the hydrogen cells, as fuel. Since its density was similar to that of air, it avoided the weight change as fuel was used, and thus the need to valve hydrogen. The Graf Zeppelin had an impressive safety record, flying over 1,600,000 km (990,000 mi) (including the first circumnavigation of the globe by airship) without a single passenger injury. [97]

The U.S. Navy experimented with the use of airships as airborne aircraft carriers, developing an idea pioneered by the British. The USS Los Angeles was used for initial experiments, and the USS Akron and Macon, the world's largest at the time, were used to test the principle in naval operations. Each carried four F9C Sparrowhawk fighters in its hangar, and could carry a fifth on the trapeze. The idea had mixed results. By the time the Navy started to develop a sound doctrine for using the ZRS-type airships, the last of the two built, USS Macon, had been lost. The seaplane had become more capable, and was considered a better investment. [98]

Eventually, the U.S. Navy lost all three U.S.-built rigid airships to accidents. USS Shenandoah flew into a severe thunderstorm over Noble County, Ohio while on a poorly planned publicity flight on 3 September 1925. It broke into pieces, killing 14 of its crew. USS Akron was caught in a severe storm and flown into the surface of the sea off the shore of New Jersey on 3 April 1933. It carried no life boats and few life vests, so 73 of its crew of 76 died from drowning or hypothermia. USS Macon was lost after suffering a structural failure offshore near Point Sur Lighthouse on 12 February 1935. The failure caused a loss of gas, which was made much worse when the aircraft was driven over pressure height causing it to lose too much helium to maintain flight. [99] Only two of its crew of 83 died in the crash thanks to the inclusion of life jackets and inflatable rafts after the Akron disaster.

The Empire State Building was completed in 1931 with a dirigible mast, in anticipation of future passenger airship service, but no airship ever used the mast. Various entrepreneurs experimented with commuting and shipping freight via airship. [100]

In the 1930s, the German Zeppelins successfully competed with other means of transport. They could carry significantly more passengers than other contemporary aircraft while providing amenities similar to those on ocean liners, such as private cabins, observation decks, and dining rooms. Less importantly, the technology was potentially more energy-efficient than heavier-than-air designs. Zeppelins were also faster than ocean liners. On the other hand, operating airships was quite involved. Often the crew would outnumber passengers, and on the ground large teams were necessary to assist mooring and very large hangars were required at airports.

By the mid-1930s, only Germany still pursued airship development. The Zeppelin company continued to operate the Graf Zeppelin on passenger service between Frankfurt and Recife in Brazil, taking 68 hours. Even with the small Graf Zeppelin, the operation was almost profitable. [101] In the mid-1930s, work began on an airship designed specifically to operate a passenger service across the Atlantic. [102] The Hindenburg (LZ 129) completed a successful 1936 season, carrying passengers between Lakehurst, New Jersey and Germany. The year 1937 started with the most spectacular and widely remembered airship accident. Approaching the Lakehurst mooring mast minutes before landing on 6 May 1937, the Hindenburg suddenly burst into flames and crashed to the ground. Of the 97 people aboard, 36 died: 13 passengers, 22 aircrew, and one American ground-crewman. The disaster happened before a large crowd, was filmed and a radio news reporter was recording the arrival. This was a disaster that theater goers could see and hear in newsreels. The Hindenburg disaster shattered public confidence in airships, and brought a definitive end to their "golden age". The day after the Hindenburg disaster, the Graf Zeppelin landed safely in Germany after its return flight from Brazil. This was the last international passenger airship flight.

Hindenburg ' s identical sister ship, the Graf Zeppelin II (LZ 130), could not carry commercial passengers without helium, which the United States refused to sell to Germany. The Graf Zeppelin made several test flights and conducted some electronic espionage until 1939 when it was grounded due to the beginning of the war. The two Graf Zeppelins were scrapped in April, 1940.

Development of airships continued only in the United States, and to a lesser extent, the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had several semi-rigid and non-rigid airships. The semi-rigid dirigible SSSR-V6 OSOAVIAKhIM was among the largest of these craft, and it set the longest endurance flight at the time of over 130 hours. It crashed into a mountain in 1938, killing 13 of the 19 people on board. While this was a severe blow to the Soviet airship program, they continued to operate non-rigid airships until 1950.

World War II Edit

While Germany determined that airships were obsolete for military purposes in the coming war and concentrated on the development of aeroplanes, the United States pursued a program of military airship construction even though it had not developed a clear military doctrine for airship use. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, bringing the United States into World War II, the U.S. Navy had 10 nonrigid airships:

  • 4 K-class: K-2, K-3, K-4 and K-5 designed as patrol ships, all built in 1938.
  • 3 L-class: L-1, L-2 and L-3 as small training ships, produced in 1938.
  • 1 G-class, built in 1936 for training.
  • 2 TC-class that were older patrol airships designed for land forces, built in 1933. The U.S. Navy acquired both from the United States Army in 1938.

Only K- and TC-class airships were suitable for combat and they were quickly pressed into service against Japanese and German submarines, which were then sinking American shipping within visual range of the American coast. U.S. Navy command, remembering airship's anti-submarine success in World War I, immediately requested new modern antisubmarine airships and on 2 January 1942 formed the ZP-12 patrol unit based in Lakehurst from the four K airships. The ZP-32 patrol unit was formed from two TC and two L airships a month later, based at NAS Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California. An airship training base was created there as well. The status of submarine-hunting Goodyear airships in the early days of World War II has created significant confusion. Although various accounts refer to airships Resolute and Volunteer as operating as "privateers" under a Letter of Marque, Congress never authorized a commission, nor did the President sign one. [103]

In the years 1942–44, approximately 1,400 airship pilots and 3,000 support crew members were trained in the military airship crew training program and the airship military personnel grew from 430 to 12,400. The U.S. airships were produced by the Goodyear factory in Akron, Ohio. From 1942 till 1945, 154 airships were built for the U.S. Navy (133 K-class, 10 L-class, seven G-class, four M-class) and five L-class for civilian customers (serial numbers L-4 to L-8).

The primary airship tasks were patrol and convoy escort near the American coastline. They also served as an organization centre for the convoys to direct ship movements, and were used in naval search and rescue operations. Rarer duties of the airships included aerophoto reconnaissance, naval mine-laying and mine-sweeping, parachute unit transport and deployment, cargo and personnel transportation. They were deemed quite successful in their duties with the highest combat readiness factor in the entire U.S. air force (87%).

During the war, some 532 ships without airship escort were sunk near the U.S. coast by enemy submarines. Only one ship, the tanker Persephone, of the 89,000 or so in convoys escorted by blimps was sunk by the enemy. [104] Airships engaged submarines with depth charges and, less frequently, with other on-board weapons. They were excellent at driving submarines down, where their limited speed and range prevented them from attacking convoys. The weapons available to airships were so limited that until the advent of the homing torpedo they had little chance of sinking a submarine. [105]

Only one airship was ever destroyed by U-boat: on the night of 18/19 July 1943, the K-74 from ZP-21 division was patrolling the coastline near Florida. Using radar, the airship located a surfaced German submarine. The K-74 made her attack run but the U-boat opened fire first. K-74 ' s depth charges did not release as she crossed the U-boat and the K-74 received serious damage, losing gas pressure and an engine but landing in the water without loss of life. The crew was rescued by patrol boats in the morning, but one crewman, Aviation Machinist's Mate Second Class Isadore Stessel, died from a shark attack. The U-boat, submarine U-134, was slightly damaged and the next day or so was attacked by aircraft, sustaining damage that forced it to return to base. It was finally sunk on 24 August 1943 by a British Vickers Wellington near Vigo, Spain. [106] [107]

Fleet Airship Wing One operated from Lakehurst, New Jersey, Glynco, Georgia, Weeksville, North Carolina, South Weymouth NAS Massachusetts, Brunswick NAS and Bar Harbor Maine, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Argentia, Newfoundland.

Some Navy blimps saw action in the European war theater. In 1944–45, the U.S. Navy moved an entire squadron of eight Goodyear K class blimps (K-89, K-101, K-109, K-112, K-114, K-123, K-130, & K-134) with flight and maintenance crews from Weeksville Naval Air Station in North Carolina to Naval Air Station Port Lyautey, French Morocco. [108] Their mission was to locate and destroy German U-boats in the relatively shallow waters around the Strait of Gibraltar where magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) was viable. PBY aircraft had been searching these waters but MAD required low altitude flying that was dangerous at night for these aircraft. The blimps were considered a perfect solution to establish a 24/7 MAD barrier (fence) at the Straits of Gibraltar with the PBYs flying the day shift and the blimps flying the night shift. The first two blimps (K-123 & K-130) left South Weymouth NAS on 28 May 1944 and flew to Argentia, Newfoundland, the Azores, and finally to Port Lyautey where they completed the first transatlantic crossing by nonrigid airships on 1 June 1944. The blimps of USN Blimp Squadron ZP-14 (Blimpron 14, aka The Africa Squadron) also conducted mine-spotting and mine-sweeping operations in key Mediterranean ports and various escorts including the convoy carrying United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the Yalta Conference in 1945. Airships from the ZP-12 unit took part in the sinking of the last U-boat before German capitulation, sinking the U-881 on 6 May 1945 together with destroyers Atherton and Mobery.

Other airships patrolled the Caribbean, Fleet Airship Wing Two, Headquartered at NAS Richmond, Florida, covered the Gulf of Mexico from Richmond and Key West, Florida, Houma, Louisiana, as well as Hitchcock and Brownsville, Texas. FAW 2 also patrolled the northern Caribbean from San Julian, [ clarification needed ] the Isle of Pines (now called Isla de la Juventud) and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba as well as Vernam Field, Jamaica.

Navy blimps of Fleet Airship Wing Five, (ZP-51) operated from bases in Trinidad, British Guiana and Paramaribo, Suriname. Fleet Airship Wing Four operated along the coast of Brazil. Two squadrons, VP-41 and VP-42 flew from bases at Amapá, Igarapé-Açu, São Luís Fortaleza, Fernando de Noronha, Recife, Maceió, Ipitanga (near Salvador, Bahia), Caravelas, Vitória and the hangar built for the Graf Zeppelin at Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro.

Fleet Airship Wing Three operated squadrons, ZP-32 from Moffett Field, ZP-31 at NAS Santa Ana, and ZP-33 at NAS Tillamook, Oregon. Auxiliary fields were at Del Mar, Lompoc, Watsonville and Eureka, California, North Bend and Astoria, Oregon, as well as Shelton and Quillayute in Washington.

From 2 January 1942 until the end of war airship operations in the Atlantic, the blimps of the Atlantic fleet made 37,554 flights and flew 378,237 hours. Of the over 70,000 ships in convoys protected by blimps, only one was sunk by a submarine while under blimp escort. [105]

The Soviet Union flew a single airship during the war. The W-12, built in 1939, entered service in 1942 for paratrooper training and equipment transport. It made 1432 flights with 300 metric tons of cargo until 1945. On 1 February 1945, the Soviets constructed a second airship, a Pobeda-class (Victory-class) unit (used for mine-sweeping and wreckage clearing in the Black Sea) that crashed on 21 January 1947. Another W-class - W-12bis Patriot - was commissioned in 1947 and was mostly used until the mid 1950s for crew training, parades and propaganda.

Postwar period Edit

Although airships are no longer used for major cargo and passenger transport, they are still used for other purposes such as advertising, sightseeing, surveillance, research and advocacy.

In the 1980s, Per Lindstrand and his team introduced the GA-42 airship, the first airship to use fly-by-wire flight control, which considerably reduced the pilot's workload.

The world's largest thermal airship (300,000 cubic feet 8,500 cubic metres) was constructed by the Per Lindstrand company for French botanists in 1993. The AS-300 carried an underslung raft, which was positioned by the airship on top of tree canopies in the rain forest, allowing the botanists to carry out their treetop research without significant damage to the rainforest. When research was finished at a given location, the airship returned to pick up and relocate the raft. [109]

In June 1987, the U.S. Navy awarded a US$168.9 million contract to Westinghouse Electric and Airship Industries of the UK to find out whether an airship could be used as an airborne platform to detect the threat of sea-skimming missiles, such as the Exocet. [110] At 2.5 million cubic feet, the Westinghouse/Airship Industries Sentinel 5000 (Redesignated YEZ-2A by the U. S. Navy) prototype design was to have been the largest blimp ever constructed. [111] Additional funding for the Naval Airship Program was killed in 1995 and development was discontinued.

The CA-80 airship, which was produced in 2000 by Shanghai Vantage Airship Manufacture Co., Ltd., had a successful trial flight in September 2001. This was designed for advertisement and propagation, air-photo, scientific test, tour and surveillance duties. It was certified as a grade-A Hi-Tech introduction program (No. 20000186) in Shanghai. The CAAC authority granted a type design approval and certificate of airworthiness for the airship. [112]

In the 1990s the Zeppelin company returned to the airship business. Their new model, designated the Zeppelin NT, made its maiden flight on 18 September 1997. As of 2009 [update] there were four NT aircraft flying, a fifth was completed in March 2009 and an expanded NT-14 (14,000 cubic meters of helium, capable of carrying 19 passengers) was under construction. One was sold to a Japanese company, and was planned to be flown to Japan in the summer of 2004. Due to delays getting permission from the Russian government, the company decided to transport the airship to Japan by sea. One of the four NT craft is in South Africa carrying diamond detection equipment from De Beers, an application at which the very stable low vibration NT platform excels. The project included design adaptations for high temperature operation and desert climate, as well as a separate mooring mast and a very heavy mooring truck. NT-4 belonged to Airship Ventures of Moffett Field, Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, and provided sight-seeing tours.

Blimps are used for advertising and as TV camera platforms at major sporting events. The most iconic of these are the Goodyear Blimps. Goodyear operates three blimps in the United States, and The Lightship Group, now The AirSign Airship Group, [113] operates up to 19 advertising blimps around the world. Airship Management Services owns and operates three Skyship 600 blimps. Two operate as advertising and security ships in North America and the Caribbean. Airship Ventures operated a Zeppelin NT for advertising, passenger service and special mission projects. They were the only airship operator in the U.S. authorized to fly commercial passengers, until closing their doors in 2012.

Skycruise Switzerland AG owns and operates two Skyship 600 blimps. One operates regularly over Switzerland used on sightseeing tours.

The Switzerland-based Skyship 600 has also played other roles over the years. For example, it was flown over Athens during the 2004 Summer Olympics as a security measure. In November 2006, it carried advertising calling it The Spirit of Dubai as it began a publicity tour from London to Dubai, UAE on behalf of The Palm Islands, the world's largest man-made islands created as a residential complex.

Los Angeles-based Worldwide Aeros Corp. produces FAA Type Certified Aeros 40D Sky Dragon airships. [114]

In May 2006, the U.S. Navy began to fly airships again after a hiatus of nearly 44 years. The program uses a single American Blimp Company A-170 nonrigid airship, with designation MZ-3A. Operations focus on crew training and research, and the platform integrator is Northrop Grumman. The program is directed by the Naval Air Systems Command and is being carried out at NAES Lakehurst, the original centre of U.S. Navy lighter-than-air operations in previous decades.

In November 2006 the U.S. Army bought an A380+ airship from American Blimp Corporation through a Systems level contract with Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton. The airship started flight tests in late 2007, with a primary goal of carrying 2,500 lb (1,100 kg) of payload to an altitude of 15,000 ft (4,600 m) under remote control and autonomous waypoint navigation. The program will also demonstrate carrying 1,000 lb (450 kg) of payload to 20,000 ft (6,100 m) The platform could be used for Multi-Intelligence collections. In 2008, the CA-150 airship was launched by Vantage Airship. This is an improved modification of model CA-120 and completed manufacturing in 2008. With larger volume and increased passenger capacity, it is the largest manned nonrigid airship in China at present. [115]

An airship was prominently featured in the James Bond film A View to a Kill, released in 1985. The Skyship 500 had the livery of Zorin Industries. [116]

In late June 2014 the Electronic Frontier Foundation flew the GEFA-FLUG AS 105 GD/4 [117] blimp AE Bates (owned by, and in conjunction with, Greenpeace) over the NSA's Bluffdale Utah Data Center in protest. [118]

Postwar projects Edit

Hybrid designs such as the Heli-Stat airship/helicopter, the Aereon aerostatic/aerodynamic craft, and the CycloCrane (a hybrid aerostatic/rotorcraft), struggled to take flight. The Cyclocrane was also interesting in that the airship's envelope rotated along its longitudinal axis.

In 2005, a short-lived project of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was Walrus HULA, which explored the potential for using airships as long-distance, heavy lift craft. [119] [120] The primary goal of the research program was to determine the feasibility of building an airship capable of carrying 500 short tons (450 t) of payload a distance of 12,000 mi (19,000 km) and land on an unimproved location without the use of external ballast or ground equipment (such as masts). In 2005, two contractors, Lockheed Martin and US Aeros Airships were each awarded approximately $3 million to do feasibility studies of designs for WALRUS. Congress removed funding for Walrus HULA in 2006. [121]

Military airships Edit

In 2010, the U.S. Army awarded a $517 million (£350.6 million) contract to Northrop Grumman and partner Hybrid Air Vehicles to develop a Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) system, in the form of three HAV 304s. [122] [123] [124] The project was cancelled in February 2012 due to it being behind schedule and over budget also the forthcoming U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan where it was intended to be deployed. [125] Following this the Hybrid Air Vehicles HAV 304 Airlander 10 was repurchased by Hybrid Air Vehicles then modified and reassembled in Bedford, UK, and renamed the Airlander 10. [126] It is currently being tested in readiness for its UK flight test programme. [127]

A-NSE [fr] , a French company, manufactures and operates airships and aerostats. For 2 years, A-NSE has been testing its airships for the French Army. Airships and aerostats are operated to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support. Their airships include many innovative features such as water ballast take-off and landing systems, variable geometry envelopes and thrust–vectoring systems.

The U.S. government has funded two major projects in the high altitude arena. The Composite Hull High Altitude Powered Platform (CHHAPP) is sponsored by U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. This aircraft is also sometimes called HiSentinel High-Altitude Airship. This prototype ship made a five-hour test flight in September 2005. The second project, the high-altitude airship (HAA), is sponsored by DARPA. In 2005, DARPA awarded a contract for nearly $150 million to Lockheed Martin for prototype development. First flight of the HAA was planned for 2008 but suffered programmatic and funding delays. The HAA project evolved into the High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator (HALE-D). The U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin launched the first-of-its kind HALE-D on July 27, 2011. [129] After attaining an altitude of 32,000 ft (9,800 m), due to an anomaly, the company decided to abort the mission. The airship made a controlled descent in an unpopulated area of southwest Pennsylvania. [130] [131] [132]

On 31 January 2006 Lockheed Martin made the first flight of their secretly built hybrid airship designated the P-791. The design is very similar to the SkyCat, unsuccessfully promoted for many years by the British company Advanced Technologies Group (ATG).

Dirigibles have been used in the War in Afghanistan for reconnaissance purposes, as they allow for constant monitoring of a specific area through cameras mounted on the airships. [133]

Passenger transport Edit

In the 1990s, the successor of the original Zeppelin company in Friedrichshafen, the Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH, reengaged in airship construction. The first experimental craft (later christened Friedrichshafen) of the type "Zeppelin NT" flew in September 1997. Though larger than common blimps, the Neue Technologie (New Technology) zeppelins are much smaller than their giant ancestors and not actually Zeppelin-types in the classical sense. They are sophisticated semirigids. Apart from the greater payload, their main advantages compared to blimps are higher speed and excellent maneuverability. Meanwhile, several Zeppelin NT have been produced and operated profitably in joyrides, research flights and similar applications.

In June 2004, a Zeppelin NT was sold for the first time to a Japanese company, Nippon Airship Corporation, for tourism and advertising mainly around Tokyo. It was also given a role at the 2005 Expo in Aichi. The aircraft began a flight from Friedrichshafen to Japan, stopping at Geneva, Paris, Rotterdam, Munich, Berlin, Stockholm and other European cities to carry passengers on short legs of the flight. Russian authorities denied overflight permission, so the airship had to be dismantled and shipped to Japan rather than following the historic Graf Zeppelin flight from Germany to Japan.

In 2008, Airship Ventures Inc. began operations from Moffett Federal Airfield near Mountain View, California and until November 2012 offered tours of the San Francisco Bay Area for up to 12 passengers.

Exploration Edit

In November 2005, De Beers, a diamond mining company, launched an airship exploration program over the remote Kalahari desert. A Zeppelin NT, equipped with a Bell Geospace gravity gradiometer, was used to find potential diamond mines by scanning the local geography for low-density rock formations, known as kimberlite pipes. On 21 September 2007, the airship was severely damaged by a whirlwind while in Botswana. One crew member, who was on watch aboard the moored craft, was slightly injured but released after overnight observation in hospital.

Thermal airships Edit

Several companies, such as Cameron Balloons in Bristol, United Kingdom, build hot-air airships. These combine the structures of both hot-air balloons and small airships. The envelope is the normal cigar shape, complete with tail fins, but is inflated with hot air instead of helium to provide the lifting force. A small gondola, carrying the pilot and passengers, a small engine, and the burners to provide the hot air are suspended below the envelope, beneath an opening through which the burners protrude.

Hot-air airships typically cost less to buy and maintain than modern helium-based blimps, and can be quickly deflated after flights. This makes them easy to carry in trailers or trucks and inexpensive to store. They are usually very slow moving, with a typical top speed of 25–30 km/h (15–20 mph, 6.7–8.9 m/s). They are mainly used for advertising, but at least one has been used in rainforests for wildlife observation, as they can be easily transported to remote areas.

Unmanned remotes Edit

Remote-controlled (RC) airships, a type of unmanned aerial system (UAS), are sometimes used for commercial purposes such as advertising and aerial video and photography as well as recreational purposes. They are particularly common as an advertising mechanism at indoor stadiums. While RC airships are sometimes flown outdoors, doing so for commercial purposes is illegal in the US. [134] Commercial use of an unmanned airship must be certified under part 121. [ clarification needed ]

Today, with large, fast, and more cost-efficient fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, it is unknown whether huge airships can operate profitably in regular passenger transport though, as energy costs rise, attention is once again returning to these lighter-than-air vessels as a possible alternative. At the very least, the idea of comparatively slow, "majestic" cruising at relatively low altitudes and in comfortable atmosphere certainly has retained some appeal. There have been some niches for airships in and after World War II, such as long-duration observations, antisubmarine patrol, platforms for TV camera crews, and advertising these generally require only small and flexible craft, and have thus generally been better fitted for cheaper (non-passenger) blimps.

Heavy lifting Edit

It has periodically been suggested that airships could be employed for cargo transport, especially delivering extremely heavy loads to areas with poor infrastructure over great distances. This has also been called roadless trucking. [135] Also, airships could be used for heavy lifting over short distances (e.g. on construction sites) this is described as heavy-lift, short-haul. [136] In both cases, the airships are heavy haulers. One recent enterprise of this sort was the Cargolifter project, in which a hybrid (thus not entirely Zeppelin-type) airship even larger than Hindenburg was projected. Around 2000, CargoLifter AG built the world's largest self-supporting hall, measuring 360 m (1,180 ft) long, 210 m (690 ft) wide and 107 m (351 ft) high about 60 km (37 mi) south of Berlin. In May 2002, the project was stopped for financial reasons the company had to file bankruptcy. The enormous CargoLifter hangar was later converted to house the Tropical Islands Resort. [137] Although no rigid airships are currently used for heavy lifting, hybrid airships are being developed for such purposes. AEREON 26, tested in 1971, was described in John McPhee's The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed.

An impediment to the large-scale development of airships as heavy haulers has been figuring out how they can be used in a cost-efficient way. In order to have a significant economic advantage over ocean transport, cargo airships must be able to deliver their payload faster than ocean carriers but more cheaply than airplanes. William Crowder, a fellow at the Logistics Management Institute, has calculated that cargo airships are only economical when they can transport 500 to 1,000 tons, approximately the same as a super-jumbo aircraft. [137] The large initial investment required to build such a large airship has been a hindrance to production, especially given the risk inherent in a new technology. The chief commercial officer of the company hoping to sell the LMH-1, a cargo airship currently being developed by Lockheed Martin, believes that airships can be economical in hard-to-reach locations such as mining operations in northern Canada that currently require ice roads. [137]

Metal-clad airships Edit

A metal-clad airship has a very thin metal envelope, rather than the usual fabric. The shell may be either internally braced or monocoque as in the ZMC-2, which flew many times in the 1920s, the only example ever to do so. The shell may be gas-tight as in a non-rigid blimp, or the design may employ internal gas bags as in a rigid airship. Compared to a fabric envelope the metal cladding is expected to be more durable.

Hybrid airships Edit

A hybrid airship is a general term for an aircraft that combines characteristics of heavier-than-air (aeroplane or helicopter) and lighter-than-air technology. Examples include helicopter/airship hybrids intended for heavy lift applications and dynamic lift airships intended for long-range cruising. Most airships, when fully loaded with cargo and fuel, are usually ballasted to be heavier than air, and thus must use their propulsion system and shape to create aerodynamic lift, necessary to stay aloft. All airships can be operated to be slightly heavier than air at periods during flight (descent). Accordingly, the term "hybrid airship" refers to craft that obtain a significant portion of their lift from aerodynamic lift or other kinetic means.

For example, the Aeroscraft is a buoyancy assisted air vehicle that generates lift through a combination of aerodynamics, thrust vectoring and gas buoyancy generation and management, and for much of the time will fly heavier than air. Aeroscraft is Worldwide Aeros Corporation's continuation of DARPA's now cancelled Walrus HULA (Hybrid Ultra Large Aircraft) project. [138]

The Patroller P3 hybrid airship developed by Advanced Hybrid Aircraft Ltd, BC, Canada, is a relatively small (85,000 feet3 = 2,400 m3) buoyant craft, manned by the crew of 5 and with the endurance of up to 72 hours. The flight-tests with the 40% RC scale model proved that such a craft can be launched and landed without a large team of strong ground-handlers. [139] Design features a special “winglet” for aerodynamic lift control. [140]

Airships in space exploration Edit

Airships have been proposed as a potential cheap alternative to surface rocket launches for achieving Earth orbit. JP Aerospace have proposed the Airship to Orbit project, which intends to float a multi-stage airship up to mesospheric altitudes of 55 km (180,000 ft) and then use ion propulsion to accelerate to orbital speed. [141] At these heights, air resistance would not be a significant problem for achieving such speeds. The company has not yet built any of the three stages.

NASA has proposed the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, which comprises a series of five missions including manned missions to the atmosphere of Venus in airships. [142] [143] [144] [145] Pressures on the surface of the planet are too high for human habitation, but at a specific altitude the pressure is equal to that found on Earth and this makes Venus a potential target for human colonization.

Hypothetically, there could be an airship lifted by a vacuum—that is, by material that can contain nothing at all inside but withstand the atmospheric pressure from the outside. It is, at this point, science fiction, although NASA has posited that some kind of vacuum airship could eventually be used to explore the surface of Mars. [146]

Cruiser Feeder transport airship Edit

EU FP7 MAAT Project [147] has studied an innovative cruiser/feeder airship system, [148] for the stratosphere with a cruiser remaining airborne for a long time and feeders connecting it to the ground and flying as piloted balloons. [149]

The advantage of airships over aeroplanes is that static lift sufficient for flight is generated by the lifting gas and requires no engine power. This was an immense advantage before the middle of World War I and remained an advantage for long-distance or long-duration operations until World War II. Modern concepts for high-altitude airships include photovoltaic cells to reduce the need to land to refuel, thus they can remain in the air until consumables expire. This similarly reduces or eliminates the need to consider variable fuel weight in buoyancy calculations.

The disadvantages are that an airship has a very large reference area and comparatively large drag coefficient, thus a larger drag force compared to that of aeroplanes and even helicopters. Given the large frontal area and wetted surface of an airship, a practical limit is reached around 130–160 kilometres per hour (80–100 mph). Thus airships are used where speed is not critical.

The lift capability of an airship is equal to the buoyant force minus the weight of the airship. This assumes standard air-temperature and pressure conditions. Corrections are usually made for water vapor and impurity of lifting gas, as well as percentage of inflation of the gas cells at liftoff. [150] Based on specific lift (lifting force per unit volume of gas), the greatest static lift is provided by hydrogen (11.15 N/m 3 or 71 lbf/1000 cu ft) with helium (10.37 N/m 3 or 66 lbf/1000 cu ft) a close second. [151]

In addition to static lift, an airship can obtain a certain amount of dynamic lift from its engines. Dynamic lift in past airships has been about 10% of the static lift. Dynamic lift allows an airship to "take off heavy" from a runway similar to fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. This requires additional weight in engines, fuel, and landing gear, negating some of the static lift capacity.

The altitude at which an airship can fly largely depends on how much lifting gas it can lose due to expansion before stasis is reached. The ultimate altitude record for a rigid airship was set in 1917 by the L-55 under the command of Hans-Kurt Flemming when he forced the airship to 7,300 m (24,000 ft) attempting to cross France after the "Silent Raid" on London. The L-55 lost lift during the descent to lower altitudes over Germany and crashed due to loss of lift. [152] While such waste of gas was necessary for the survival of airships in the later years of World War I, it was impractical for commercial operations, or operations of helium-filled military airships. The highest flight made by a hydrogen-filled passenger airship was 1,700 m (5,500 ft) on the Graf Zeppelin's around-the-world flight. [153]

The greatest disadvantage of the airship is size, which is essential to increasing performance. As size increases, the problems of ground handling increase geometrically. [154] As the German Navy changed from the P class of 1915 with a volume of over 31,000 m 3 (1,100,000 cu ft) to the larger Q class of 1916, the R class of 1917, and finally the W class of 1918, at almost 62,000 m 3 (2,200,000 cu ft) ground handling problems reduced the number of days the Zeppelins were able to make patrol flights. This availability declined from 34% in 1915, to 24.3% in 1916 and finally 17.5% in 1918. [155]

So long as the power-to-weight ratios of aircraft engines remained low and specific fuel consumption high, the airship had an edge for long-range or -duration operations. As those figures changed, the balance shifted rapidly in the aeroplane's favour. By mid-1917, the airship could no longer survive in a combat situation where the threat was aeroplanes. By the late 1930s, the airship barely had an advantage over the aeroplane on intercontinental over-water flights, and that advantage had vanished by the end of World War II.

This is in face-to-face tactical situations. Currently, a high-altitude airship project is planned to survey hundreds of kilometres as their operation radius, often much farther than the normal engagement range of a military aeroplane. [ clarification needed ] For example, a radar mounted on a vessel platform 30 m (100 ft) high has radio horizon at 20 km (12 mi) range, while a radar at 18,000 m (59,000 ft) altitude has radio horizon at 480 km (300 mi) range. This is significantly important for detecting low-flying cruise missiles or fighter-bombers.

The most commonly used lifting gas, helium, is inert and therefore presents no fire risk. [156] A series of vulnerability tests were done by the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency DERA on a Skyship 600. Since the internal gas pressure was maintained at only 1–2% above the surrounding air pressure, the vehicle proved highly tolerant to physical damage or to attack by small-arms fire or missiles. Several hundred high-velocity bullets were fired through the hull, and even two hours later the vehicle would have been able to return to base. Ordnance passed through the envelope without causing critical helium loss. The results and related mathematical model have presented in the hypothesis of considering a Zeppelin NT size airship. [157] In all instances of light armament fire evaluated under both test and live conditions, the airship was able to complete its mission and return to base. [158]

United States Air Force

In both the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, the United States made use of lighter-than-air balloons for observation purposes, but it was not until 1907 that the first effort was made to employ heavier-than-air devices of the type that the Wright Brothers had pioneered a few years earlier. It began on an extremely small scale, as the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Army's Signal Corps. Soon thereafter, the Army asked for bids for a suitable plane, which was expected to carry two men for an hour at a speed of 40 mph. The Wright Brothers produced such a plane in 1909. They trained the first few pilots and soon the Army had its own training schools. In 1914, Congress gave official recognition to the Army's aeronautical efforts by establishing the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, with an authorized strength of 60 officers and 260 men. Progress was made in using the airplane as element of combat, with the first attempts to drop bombs and fire machine guns from the air. Compared with the European powers, however, it was a minor effort and when the United States entered World War I, it could count only 35 Army pilots. The United States quickly made up for lost time. An Air Service was created, separate from the Signal Corps, and large appropriations made possible increased production of planes and the training of many pilots. When the Armistice was declared in 1918, America was deploying 45 squadrons at the front with 740 airplanes. There were 195,000 men serving in the Air Service. It took more than a year after the declaration of war before American planes actually entered combat in the European theater. American planes scored a disproportionately high number of enemy planes downed, and Billy Mitchell gained his first fame with massed bombing raids on German positions behind the lines. After the war, Mitchell used his bombers to demonstrate the ability of airplanes to destroy naval vessels. Having successfully demonstrated the results of air power, Mitchell promoted that use of airplanes are the primary military weapon of the future. His aggressive tone brought him into sharp conflict with the admirals and generals of more orthodox views and in 1925 he was courtmartialed. After being suspended, Mitchell resigned in temporary disgrace, although his views were borne out by later events. Despite Mitchell's failure, the rise in importance of air power was inexorable. In 1926, Congress raised its profile by adding an Assistant Secretary of War for Air and changing the name of the force from Air Service to Air Corps. Growth in numbers was slow, with only 45 squadrons in service in 1932. The realization that bombers could play a major role led to the development by the Boeing Company of a four-engine bomber. The first prototype of a heavily armored "Flying Fortress" flew in 1935. The approach of World War II occasioned a steady growth in Army air capabilities, which took a sharp upward turn after the fall of France in 1940. In June, 1941, all air units of the Army were absorbed into the Army Air Forces. Expansion accelerated after the United States entered the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In 1942, the A.A.F. was made one of three main components of the Army, under the command of General H.H. Arnold. By 1944, with a strength of 2,386,000, the Army Air Forces constituted the largest air force in the world. During World War II, the A.A.F. operated in both the Europea and Pacific Theaters. In Europe, air power was instrumental in North Africa and in providing command of the skies during D-Day in Normandy. Both British and American bombers pounded German targets, with the Americans generally opting for daylight raids that allowed for greater precision. In the Pacific, Pearl Harbor was a great setback and the A.A.F. retreated along with other American military units. The Doolitle Raid on Tokyo had a great effect on wartime morale, although its military importance was less. Gradually supplied with forward air fields, bombing raids on Japan were undertaken with great effect and two A.A.F. B-29 bombers carried the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1947, the military reorganization that produced the Defense Department created an independent branch of the military devoted to air power. The U.S. Air Force was given its own secretary, reporting to the Secretary of Defense. In addition to the Air Defense Command and the Tactical Air Command, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) was created to provide for the long-distance delivery of atomic and hydrogen bombs. The Korean War renewed the importance of the Air Force and introduced the first combat use of American jet aircraft. With the development of longer range missiles, the Air Force was given the responsibility for all intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs.

Charlière Hydrogen Balloon

The Charlière hydrogen balloon exceeded the earlier Montgolfier hot air balloon in time in the air and distance traveled. With its wicker gondola, netting, and valve-and-ballast system, it became the definitive form of the hydrogen balloon for the next 200 years. The audience in the Tuileries Gardens was reported as 400,000, half the population of Paris.

The limitation of using hot air was that when the air in the balloon cooled, the balloon was forced to descend. If a fire was kept burning to warm the air constantly, sparks were likely to reach the bag and set it afire. Hydrogen overcame this obstacle.

Colombia to send jets against criminal gangs

Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said the full force of the state, including the military, would be used to fight them.

The gangs emerged from right-wing paramilitary squads disbanded under the last government of Alvaro Uribe, in office until five years ago.

Officials say there are three criminal gangs with about 3,000 members.

Air raids against left-wing Farc - country's largest rebel group - are currently suspended, as peace talks continue in an effort to end five decades of conflict.

"This will allow the application of the entire force of the state, without exception, against organised armed groups, against powerful mafias," Mr Villegas said.

The new strategy specifically targets three groups - the Clan Usuga, Los Pelusos and Los Puntilleros.

Clan Usuga, is the largest and is accused of trafficking cocaine to Central America and on to the US.

The Los Pelusos gang has strong links with the powerful Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. Los Puntilleros are involved in trafficking in Colombia's Catatumbo region.

Analysts say the decision to militarise the fight against organised crime marks a sharp turn in strategy as the government is nearing a peace deal with the Farc.

Air raids have been the most powerful military strategy against guerrilla groups and led to the deaths of many of their most feared commanders.

President Juan Manuel Santos said earlier this week that the US was providing intelligence to help fight criminal gangs.

Air raids run off Burma civilians

A family member mourns over the death of Aung Myo Thant as they gather at his funeral in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Family members said Aung Myo Thant was killed Monday during a clash with security forces at a protest against the military's coup that ousted the government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1. (AP Photo)

MAE SAM LAEP, Thailand -- Violence in eastern Burma, including air raids that drove thousands of members of the Karen ethnic minority to seek shelter across the border in Thailand, deepened Tuesday with new air attacks by the military that seized power from an elected government last month.

Thailand's prime minister denied that his country's security forces had forced villagers back to Burma who had fled from military airstrikes over the weekend, saying they returned home on their own accord.

But the situation in eastern Burma appeared to be getting more dangerous.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday ordered nonessential U.S. diplomats and their families to leave Burma, expecting the protests to continue. The U.S. earlier suspended a trade deal and imposed sanctions on junta leaders as well as restricted business with military holding companies.

The department said in a brief statement it would require nonessential U.S. government employees and their dependents to depart the country in an upgrade of its previous instructions from Feb. 14 that had allowed them to leave voluntarily. The department also reiterated an earlier warning for Americans not to travel to Burma.

"The Burmese military has detained and deposed elected government officials," the statement said. "Protests and demonstrations against military rule have occurred and are expected to continue."

Saw Taw Nee, head of the foreign affairs department of the Karen National Union, the main political body representing the Karen minority there, confirmed that new raids Tuesday left six civilians dead and 11 wounded.

Dave Eubank, a member of the Free Burma Rangers, which provides medical assistance to villagers in the region, provided the same information.

The attacks by Burma's military led the Karen National Union to issue a statement from one of its armed units saying that the government's "military ground troops are advancing into our territories from all fronts," and vowing to respond.

"We have no other options left but to confront these serious threats posed by the illegitimate military junta's army in order to defend our territory, our Karen peoples, and their self-determination rights," said the statement, issued in the name of the Karen National Union office for the district that was first attacked on Saturday.

It said the attacks were the latest in a series of actions by Burma's military breaking a cease-fire agreement. The Karen National Union has been fighting for greater autonomy for the Karen people.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, speaking before the latest air attacks, said his country is ready to shelter anyone who is escaping fighting, as it has done many times for decades. His comments were made a day after humanitarian groups said Thailand has been sending back some of the thousands of people who have fled the air attacks.

"There is no influx of refugees yet. We asked those who crossed to Thailand if they have any problem in their area. When they say no problem, we just asked them to return to their land first. We asked, we did not use any force," Prayuth told reporters.

"We won't push them back," he said. 'If they are having fighting, how can we do so? But if they don't have any fighting at the moment, can they go back first?"

The governor of Thailand's Mae Hong Son province, where as many as 3,000 refugees had sought shelter, said later that those still on Thai soil were expected to return to their own country in a day or two.

The attacks are a further escalation of the violent crackdown by Burma's junta on protests against its Feb. 1 takeover.

At least 510 protesters have been killed since the coup, according to Burma's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which says the actual toll is likely much higher. It says 2,574 people have been detained.

Protests continued Tuesday despite the deaths of more than 100 people on Saturday alone.

Burma's government has battled Karen guerrillas on and off for years -- along with other ethnic minorities seeking more autonomy -- but the airstrikes marked a major escalation of violence.

Political organizations representing the Karen and Kachin in northern Burma were joined Tuesday by the Three Brothers Alliance, which represent the guerrilla armies of the Rakhine, Kokang and Ta-ang -- also known as Palaung -- minorities.

The alliance condemned the killing of protesters and said if it did not stop immediately, they would abandon a self-declared cease-fire and join with other groups to protect the people.

Burma is often called Myanmar, a name that military authorities adopted in 1989. Some nations, such as the United States and Britain, have refused to adopt the name change.

Story of U.S. Air Force pilot who died in 1986 raid on Libya revived in Nathan Felix opera 'Ribas-Dominicci'

Blanca Berain Ribas and her son, Fernando Ribas-Berain, sit outside Ribas-Berain’s home. Ribas’ husband, Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, was an Air Force pilot who was killed in action in a 1986 raid on Libya. His story is being celebrated in a new opera by San Antonio composer Nathan Felix.

Kin Man Hui /Staff photographer

Some of Fernando Luis Ribas-Berain&rsquos clearest memories from early childhood involve him waiting at the top of the stairs in for his dad to come home from work.

&ldquoIt was always the same thing, him in his flight suit and boots, black boots, laced up and shining,&rdquo Ribas-Berain said.

He also has a clear memory of the day he learned his father wouldn&rsquot be coming home ever again.

&ldquoI vividly remember opening my eyes to the sound of my mother crying,&rdquo he said. &ldquoIt was a muffled sound through those stone walls, through my closed door. She was downstairs.

&ldquoAnd when I heard it, I kind of got out of bed, and I saw the military officer there, sitting next to her on a long couch we had. I see her on the couch crying, and I immediately know.&rdquo

His father, Major Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, was a U.S. Air Force pilot. He and Capt. Paul F. Florence were killed during Operation El Dorado Canyon, a 1986 air raid on Libya.

The incident and the love story between Ribas-Berain&rsquos mom and dad are recounted in &ldquoRibas-Dominicci,&rdquo a new opera being developed by composer Nathan Felix.

A 25-minute segment of the piece will be streamed at 2 p.m. Friday on Texas Public Radio&rsquos Facebook page as part of its &ldquoDaystream&rdquo series. It will be sung by mezzo-soprano Kathleen Shelton and baritone Lee Farrar Bailey, playing characters based on Ribas-Berain&rsquos parents.

Kathleen Shelton and Lee Farrar Bailey play husband and wife in a segment of the opera “Ribas-Dominicci.” Their performance was filmed in Texas Public Radio’s theater and will be streamed on TPR’s Facebook page.

Felix is developing &ldquoRibas-Dominicci&rdquo into a full-blown opera he hopes to premiere next year. Ideally, he&rsquod like to see it staged in San Antonio or in Puerto Rico, which is where Ribas-Dominicci was born and raised and where a small airport was named in his honor after his death.

The composer and Ribas-Berain have been friends since they met in high school. Felix first heard the story of his friend&rsquos dad two or three years ago, on a long drive to go camping. It left him in tears.

&ldquoI thought it was common knowledge amongst my friends, but for some reason, that time I was probably focused on the story between him and my mother as opposed to the history of his death,&rdquo said Ribas-Berain, 39. &ldquoThat&rsquos why it was more touching for him. I think that&rsquos a much more relatable part of the story &hellip the love and the loss.&rdquo

Felix asked if he could write an opera about his parents. He chose that form because Ribas-Berain&rsquos mom, Blanca Berain Ribas, is a lifelong opera fan.

Blanca Berain Ribas is the widow of Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, an Air Force pilot who was killed in action in Libya in 1986. The story of the couple’s romance and his death is being recounted in “Ribas-Dominicci,” a new opera being developed by composer Nathan Felix.

Kin Man Hui /Staff photographer

Ribas-Berain said his mom would have to OK it, so Felix asked her for her blessing. She gave it. She also has chatted with him over dinner from time to time so he could get a more personal account of who Ribas-Dominicci was than could be gleaned from news accounts and other sources.

&ldquoI choke up so much doing the research. It is close to me because it&rsquos my best friend and I grew up with him,&rdquo Felix said. &ldquoIt&rsquos such a sad, sad story, but it&rsquos also a heroic story. I feel very honored to tell it.&rdquo

Ribas has heard some of the music, and she was impressed by it.

&ldquoThere&rsquos a piece there, a part of it, where she&rsquos singing the Our Father and praying for her husband, and I found that very touching because I saw myself in that role,&rdquo she said.

She and her husband were only together for eight and a half years, but that brief period had a big impact on her life.

Fernando Ribas-Berain is the son of Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, an Air Force pilot whose story is being told in a new opera by San Antonio composer Nathan Felix, a friend of Ribas-Berain’s.

Kin Man Hui /Staff photographer

&ldquoWe&rsquove been apart longer than we were together,&rdquo said Ribas, 69. &ldquoSo many people ask me after I say that, they say, &lsquoWhy didn&rsquot you ever remarry?&rsquo I think that I didn&rsquot remarry because I was always looking for another guy to give me that feeling that he gave me, and I never found it. I think my aspirations were a little too high. But I&rsquove had a wonderful life.&rdquo

The couple met in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, her hometown, in a shop she owned that sold jewelry and crafts to tourists. Ribas-Dominicci was getting his pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio and would cross the border on weekends.

&ldquoHis English was very bad,&rdquo she said. &ldquoAnd he would struggle the entire week while he was in training, trying to speak English. So he would go across to Mexico so he could find somebody to speak Spanish with so he could just get his tongue back more to normal.&rdquo

Chats in the shop led to romance. But when he finished his training and received orders to go to Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, they parted. Neither was quite sure where the relationship was going, Ribas said.

Time apart seems to have clarified things, because shortly after he left, he suggested that she come join him. There was a university nearby, and she had always wanted to continue her studies. So she sold her business to her brother and moved to the United States. The day after she arrived, she and Ribas-Dominicci went to the justice of the peace and were married.

They were in Clovis, New Mexico, for six years. There was little to do in the tiny town, she said, but they made the most of it.

&ldquoWe had all those years that we were together without family,&rdquo she said. &ldquoIt really gave us the opportunity to really know each other. I was floating on a cloud for the longest time. It took me a long time to come down.&rdquo

She got pregnant in her final semester at college. A few years later, the couple and their little boy moved to England. That&rsquos where they were living when Ribas-Dominicci went on his final flight.

It was a secret mission, Ribas said. She thought he was taking part in a training exercise and was stunned when an officer came to her door to tell her that her husband&rsquos plane had crashed over the coast of Libya. News reports from the time stated that he had been part of a bombing raid ordered by then-President Ronald Reagan in retaliation for terrorist attacks by Libya.

It took a long time for Ribas to start to process her loss.

&ldquoIt was a very traumatic experience,&rdquo she said. &ldquoIt took me most of my 30s to get over it.&rdquo

The fact that her husband&rsquos body was missing and wasn&rsquot returned for more than two years after the crash made moving on even harder than it might have been.

&ldquoI knew he had been killed in action. I wasn&rsquot delusional,&rdquo she said. &ldquoBut in my heart, there was this tiny, tiny, tiny hope.

&ldquoBefore his body was recovered, there was so much speculation initially about what had happened &mdash they couldn&rsquot find the capsule, or his stuff, and so, you just want to have hope.&rdquo

Thirty-five years later, the incident has faded from many people&rsquos memories.

&ldquoIt&rsquos been so many years, and it seems like the the more time goes by, fewer and fewer people that I meet know anything of it,&rdquo she said. &ldquoAnd it wasn&rsquot a big war or a big thing like that &mdash it was just one action that Reagan decided to take. &hellipThe reason it was impactful at the time was because we weren&rsquot involved in any wars. We were in a cold war with the Soviet Union, but aside from that, we were not involved in any wars. So there weren&rsquot servicemen being killed every other week.&rdquo

It means a lot to her that Felix is telling the story. And she hopes the full piece gives people a sense of the man she fell for all those years ago.

&ldquoHe was an extraordinary individual,&rdquo she said. &ldquoIt sounds like what the wife should say. But in actuality, if you take 10 people that knew him, those 10 people would say the same thing.

&ldquoI&rsquom not just saying that because he passed away or the way he died or because he was my husband and I was in love with him, but because he truly was.&rdquo

US Suspends Air Travel From Europe

In response to the further spread of COVID-19, President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on all passenger air travel from Europe to the United States effective Friday, March 13 at 12 a.m.

Although the President initially indicated that both people and goods would be restricted, he later clarified on Twitter and via a Presidential Proclamation that air cargo will not be affected.

At this time, we are reporting several airlines suspending cargo services from Europe due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. We recommend customers prepare for supply chain disruptions due to service suspensions and shrinking capacity.

Restricted countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The ban does not include the United Kingdom (UK).