Home » Spies » Big Bro's Watching » A Stealthy, Worm-Shaped, Spying Airship. What?

A Stealthy, Worm-Shaped, Spying Airship. What?

by John Reed on January 23, 2012

Check out the latest piece of UAV spy tech that the DoD is looking at out at the giant Nevada Test Site. World Surveillance Group’s worm-like Argus One airship began flight demonstrations for the Pentagon at a Department of Energy-owned airstrip inside the mysterious test range. (It was probably at the DoE’s Yucca airstrip, a site that was recently revealed to be home to UAV ops.)

Argus One is meant to loiter for days at altitudes of 10,000 to 20,000-feet over targets while carrying 33-pounds of surveillance and communications in that little gondola that’s slung beneath the craft. Why the crazy looking design? Increased stability and maneuverability in the face of nasty winds and weather conditions.

Here’s what WSG says about the worm-blimp:

Argus One is an unmanned autonomous airship with automated control for individual body modules for improved flight stability and aerodynamic control. The design features the ability to control the rigidity between each module and the ability to pivot. The modules are operated by microcontrollers based on aerodynamic requirements. The airship’s altitude, overall response and handling characteristics and flight control utilizes a system of ballonets contained within each individual module, thereby creating a dynamically adjustable airship. The design of the Argus One differs significantly from many of the LTA rigid platforms that have been in operation for over a century.

It goes on to say that the Argus One is mean to be an “eye in the sky” that meets “certain requirements for ISR applications for U.S. military and other governmental agencies.” That “other governmental agencies” is probably a clue as to why it’s being tested at the remote Nevada facility.

The drone is being designed to beam images and other intel it collects in near real-time to ground control stations, it can also be programmed by operators to automatically fly to certain navigation points. And that weird shape, it also makes it easy to transport and operate Argus One from bare bones facilities in the middle of nowhere. Oh yeah, it’s also stealthy, according to WSG:

he Argus One has significant competitive advantages over the existing manned aircraft, heavier-than-air fixed wing UAVs, tethered aerostats and balloons, or low orbit satellite alternatives. The Argus One has a flexible, non-rigid envelope which allows for easy storage and transport to remote locations. There is no need for large hangars or airport infrastructure, as the Argus One can be assembled and tactically launched in hours from virtually anywhere, including remote, mountainous territory. The Argus One is designed to have a several day endurance capability and can stay on station with its module designed body, propulsion system and its sensor operated rigidity stabilization system, even in rough weather. The Argus One has a low radar footprint making it virtual stealth since the payload bay located on the forward module of the airship is the only radar reflecting material on the airship.

Ps. Yes, the balloon kinda looks like something else, but I’m gonna let you guys make those jokes.

Share |

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

crackedlenses January 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

You've got to be joking……

Reply

jiopppo January 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

that thing ain't gonna blend

Reply

Musson January 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

The Taliban will just assume it's Chinese New Year. I looks like a Chinese dragon.

Reply

Nick T. January 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

My thoughts on what this resembles are a bit more… Freudian.

Reply

tiger January 25, 2012 at 6:28 am

Year of the Maggot?

Reply

blight January 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm

http://www.wsgi.com/

Hmm. They remind me of Sandworms from Dune. That said, they have several families of wormblimp.

Reply

X January 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm

You see that and you think of a “sandworm from Dune”? You, sir, are a geek.

Reply

blight January 24, 2012 at 12:06 am

Shai-Huluds flying airborne cousin. Real Fremen fight on the ground though.

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen January 24, 2012 at 1:51 am

Flying sand-worms……we're so screwed!

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

Guest A January 24, 2012 at 7:00 am

Gotta keep the spice flowing somehow…

Reply

Lance January 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I agree with Brian this looks like some dirty joke from the USAF LOL!

Looks too ugly though.

Reply

anonymous January 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

So where are they going to stick it to complete the dick metaphor of what military spending is doing to this country?

Reply

JackBlack January 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Air Worm Jim?

Reply

tiger January 25, 2012 at 6:31 am

Air Worm? Would have made for a very slow 1980's tv show. String & Dom would take a hour just to get the Air worm out the mountain hideout.

Reply

Brian Black January 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Looks like an obese sperm.

It seems too simple and basic a design to appeal to the US military, quite tricky to put a missile on it.

I wonder what price tag is attached to this simple looking wind bag.

Reply

jhm January 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm

an american sperm mind you, nice and obese

Reply

blight January 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

The WSG Inc group apparently has an address in the Kennedy Space Center. Are they privatizing on us already?

Reply

Riles January 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thats no worm…

Reply

Tad January 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Maybe there will be an egg-shaped airship and the two can meet and have offspring…

Reply

Zephyr January 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Zeus!! I told you to check your condom for holes BEFOREHAND. Sheesh.

Reply

none January 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Should've used a trojan

Reply

anonymous January 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I laughed til I cried.

Reply

tribulationtime January 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm

OK! A zeppelin easy to fly in windy weather. 3000 to 6000m ceiling? 16 kg payload?. What is the situation with aplications for? JOKE Super Bowl lot car control?

Reply

tribulationtime January 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I have 3 aplications: two to fight against China (China and Me a classic!!). A) Under fleet cuts this things can do Early Warning at unlikely enemy axis of attack. B) Simulation of Carriers Group to be targeted by DS-21 ballistics anti-ship missiles. C) Cheap substitute / back up of aged E-6 Mercury.

Reply

Pete May 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

33 LBS of WHAT???!!! Unreal. I'm an old aerostat guy and this, is, well…? Anyway, as far as "no missiles aboard" that one commenter stated…ground fired Hellfires with an onboard rangefinder etc is the way to go.

Reply

moronoxy??what? December 7, 2013 at 11:12 am

My guess is that this is for home use only, along the Mexican, southern border. It can fly cheaply, all day and night, invisible during the day, the only payload needed is for observation. Low cost, low maintenance since the payload is not real high tech, so, this would be perfect for this application.

Reply

Mark January 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I think this thing has to be a smoke screen for some other secret project going on….

Reply

turtleairships January 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

World Surveillance Group is formerly "SansWire"; supposedly fielding a "stratellite". This company has almost a decade long history of shady financials and shaky work.
The segmented design is certainly transportable; but the equipment needed to inflate it negates that small advantage.

see: militaryairships dot blogspot dot com

Reply

pandaa January 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm

God damn stealth worms, coming over here, stealing our missions.

Reply

Will January 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

If this was April 1…
Does it telescope for storage?

Reply

paperpushermj January 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

There is a special Latex Sleeve for storage

Reply

Guest January 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Might explain some of those cigar shaped UFO sightings.

Reply

zardinuk January 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Place that over the enemy cities and have it drop women's underwear on their heads! Psychological weaponry!

Reply

A. Nonymous January 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

More Harkonnen treachery!

Reply

blight January 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm

More ornithopters!

Reply

Nathan January 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Super Sperm!

Reply

Vpanoptes January 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Well, one could make inferences about this being yet another (albeit more explicit/symbolic) example of what the military-industrial-Congressional complex is doing to this country (literally or figuratively), but that would be tacky and low-class, but what the hey…..

Reply

@johndavidstutts January 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm

If it ever goes commercial, I doubt Richard Branson's Virgin label will ever be emblazend across it

Reply

Rofl January 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

This is what happens when your designers smoke too much weed…

Reply

Black Owl January 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Whoa! For a second I thought that was a… well… never mind.

Reply

TH1 January 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

wtf?

Reply

Tim January 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Does that thing look like… what I think it looks like???

Americans are so obese, even their… ugh… are so… ugh…

Reply

Darrell January 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Once this enters the theater and penitrates defenses, I wonder if it will be a boy or girl?

Reply

TLAM Strike January 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

This is part of a new form of stealth.

Basically when someone reports seeing a giant wang fly by and reports it to their air defense command everyone there will assume they are seriously high.

Reply

Black Owl January 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

Thanks for making me almost spit out my coffee.

Reply

rutgerssteve January 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

structural feminist military historians will have a field day with this..

Reply

Rabbit January 24, 2012 at 12:43 am

That seems like a contradiction in terms right there (hopefully I wasn't pointing out the obvious…)

Reply

major.rod January 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Just imagine how big the blimp is that this came out of!

Reply

Stan January 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Are we planning the terrorists to laugh themselves to death?

Reply

Chops January 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Once it flies over the enemy it sprays Elmers glue on them.

Reply

Hansolo July 13, 2012 at 9:47 am

yes but only 33 lbs of it, not enough to sticky up the works unless they have some classified GPS controlled spew nozzle on board.

Reply

ant January 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm

wtf. what are other countries gonna think when they see a big penis flying through the air. attack of the monster penis.!!!

Reply

paperpushermj January 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

If you want to watch video of this flying : Go to Popular Science Mag. site. In their search box… type argus 1

Reply

notasblindasyou January 23, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Alright, I suppose I will be the first person to state the obvious. This thing will likely employ the same type of distributed sensors currently being embedded in steal aircraft skin. The large surface area will allow the placement of many sensors enabling a very large aggregated aperture for digital integration.

It will be a GIANT EYE IN THE SKY. and cheap and full of air. it will also apparently house some easily focused traditional equipment, or perhaps a laser painter in that suspended gondola.

im starting to see that you old guard are limited in your imagination in the face of coming technology. adapt or die.

Reply

blight January 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Something like this in the GMTI mode parked over a border would be neat to track movement. Would be worth testing in Arizona, for instance. If the Border Patrol has manpower problems, then it needs the tech it can get, then just have them operated by contractors to get around manpower limits.

Reply

tiger January 25, 2012 at 6:35 am

Thank you Count Zeppelin……

Reply

Ken January 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

The Goal? To inseminate the WORLD! Mwahahaha!!

Reply

Rob January 24, 2012 at 12:32 am

Obvious to me this is tunnel buster technology. Into the hole and unleash the chemical weapons.

Maybe Area52 is just looking for the mothership

Could just be this broke loose off the Belmont Stakes float for the next Macy's parade. Woah Nelly.

Russian Spy Agency reports…. American pricks on the move again.

The next Viagra commercial. Who says its bad to keep your head in the clouds? Rise high & stay there!

Reply

Kimbo Y. Laurel January 24, 2012 at 1:29 am

It looks like a flying sperm than a worm. It has a head and tail plus it is white.

Reply

Stan January 24, 2012 at 1:55 am

Thank you for this article, btw. Reading the comments was pure joy.

Reply

pathfinder January 24, 2012 at 3:15 am

Looks like a spermatoza on steroids……….

Reply

Ems January 24, 2012 at 3:34 am

it's Stealthy eh? that's scary, the enemy would definitely not want that thing sneak up on them from behind…

Reply

William C. January 24, 2012 at 4:34 am

Wants new strategic bomber, gets Freudian blimp instead…

Reply

obligatory January 24, 2012 at 6:00 am

Stupid Yankees should have bought the Typhoon as it excells at this role and everything else far better than the F-22 even.

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen January 24, 2012 at 7:47 am

And that's one thumb down for complete, utter, total, 110%, no-doubt-about-it lack of relevance.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

blight January 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

Almost like a certain person whose solution to everyone problem was five thousand F-23's, and maybe five thousand more F-22's.

Reply

ffjbentson January 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

Based on color, shape and alt. it will be at maybe it looks like a cloud. Besides if you are only spying on unsophisticated enemies such as the Taliban or al-Quida who can not shoot it down it is a cheap way of staying above them for a long time.

Reply

JRL January 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

If being stalked and spied upon by a giant aerial spermatozoon doesn't qualify as sexual harrassment, then what would?

Expecting to see Al Quaeda file a human rights violation complaint at the UN any day now…

Reply

IKnowIT January 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

OMG- there is SO much to say about how that thing looks, and so little time. Glad I didn't design that- that guy must have gotten made fun of!

Reply

Austin Powers' mojo January 24, 2012 at 11:04 am

It looks like Dr Evils spaceship dropped something…..

Reply

RVN11B January 24, 2012 at 11:13 am

Looks like several items I currently have stashed in my tackle box.

And in different colors too!

Reply

Thomas L. Nielsen January 25, 2012 at 7:40 am

That comment made some very strange and rather disturbing images go through my head….

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reply

RVN11B January 25, 2012 at 11:01 am

That should be 'FISHING TACKLE' box.

Reply

Jayson January 25, 2012 at 9:30 am

So this is more than a Navy vehicle I guess. The NAVY have always been known to be seamen. I seem to have missed, how many men (and/or women) does it take to make this air-squirmy work? Also would nature take over if a blimp happens nearby?

ok ok bad jokes aside, a unit equiped with one of these is good, 1 – it appears light to transport with a mobile unit helping them to see their surroundings from above and know any movements happening around the area and the colour works at that altitude. I like it and glad I'm not the one to carry it at the same time.

Reply

blight February 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Navy took the lead with airships back in the days (airships getting canned before the AAF became the USAF). Many of the experimental airships went down in weather conditions, but the aircraft carrier airship had promise.

Reply

Mastro January 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

All that for 33 lbs of gear seems – well- disappointing…

Reply

blight February 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

And that is why airships that are supposed to carry strategic airlift won't work. And that's even with America being the Saudi Arabia of helium.

Reply

Uranium238 January 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I wonder what continent we are trying to impregnate?

Reply

aaron June 2, 2012 at 7:06 am

I thought seamen were only in the navy

Reply

aaron June 2, 2012 at 7:07 am

I thought seamen were only in the navy lol

Reply

Hansolo July 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

Comments about the helium logistics are off. What you can’t clearly see in the photo is the hotair engine, which consists of a solar powered heat pump and a few propane tanks and burner for instant high BTU output for launch. Cooled air exits the tailcone though an efficient spew valve. The actual valve design is DoD classified do to geometric baffles.

Reply

turtleairships January 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

yes, a "trailer to hold the blimp"; and, either a second one, or a larger one, to hold the several helium tanks needed to inflate it. From photos, this appears to be about 10' diameter, about 100' long, roughly a cone shape. About 2,500-3,500 cubic feet of helium; about what 10-14 common "welding" helium tanks would hold. If the envelope is torn, as happened this last August, loss of helium means the thing comes down, and more helium must be available for replacement.
Is Argus One simply a milk-the-current-UAV-fad boondoggle? perhaps……

Reply

paperpushermj January 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thats not possible

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: