If you're going to fight an Islamic insurgency, you'd think there would be more practical tools than an airship.
But that's just what Thailand has been using to track militants in its restive southern provinces. Its manned Aeros 40D Sky Dragon, manufactured by California-based Aeros, has again run into technical trouble, making an emergency landing in the south's Pattani Province recently.
The Sky Dragon developed propeller problems and began losing altitude. It sustained some damage in an emergency landing, but no one was hurt, the Bangkok Post reported.
The 350 million baht ($11.7 million) U.S.-built craft has been seen as a boondoggle in Thailand due to problems with equipment and delays in delivery. It was returned to Aeros last year following major leaks, according to the paper.
Because the warranty has expired, the Royal Thai Army will have to pay for repairs.
The airship has a rigid structure and is thus not a blimp, and it measures 11.6 yards wide by 51 yards long. It's supposed to fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet with a top speed of 54.6 mph. Its operational range is 348 miles.
The military has been using the dirigible for surveillance in the insurgency, which has claimed thousands of lives. It's been equipped with high-def night cameras and communications systems. … Read more