The US Air Force is expected in February 2012 to officially put into service the new airship Blue Devil 2, built in the Blue Devil program.
According to Aviation Week , this contract to research and manufacture this type of scouting balloon worth USD 82.6 million was signed by the US Air Force with MAV6 in October 2010. The first Blue Devil 2 test flight will be conducted in September this year.
This new type of airship will either be controlled by the driver sitting in the specialized compartment of the balloon or will be controlled from the ground. It has a length of 7 m, 3 m wide, 2.1 m high and is capable of operating continuously in the air for 5 days.
Blue Devil 2 will be equipped with a lot of modern, high-tech electronic devices such as high-resolution sensors, infrared and electro-optical cameras and spy radar systems.
Before Blue Devil 2 , MAV6 also handed over the Blue Devil 1 spy plane developed based on Hawker Beechcraft King Air 90 reconnaissance aircraft for the US Air Force in December 2010.
Basically, the Blue Devil 1 is also equipped with electronic spy devices on the Blue Devil 2 airship . However, the US Air Force only considers unmanned reconnaissance aircraft as an intermediate device, used temporarily. before the launch of the driver's airship to spy on soft form.
The US military plans that, after officially putting the Blue Devil 2 into combat operations, will stop using unmanned Blue Devil 1 spy planes because the efficiency is not high.