Variable Rigidity and the Engorgement of Giant Flying Sausages

If you were, say, a paranoid, anti-globalist writer of cyberpunk science fiction, you couldn’t come up with a creepier corporate name than World Surveillance Group. The Florida-based corporation has just tested its lighter-than-air UAV, the Argus One, designed for domestic and military security applications, and has posted a video of the test flight here. Embedding is disabled at the company’s website, and it’s not available on YouTube. Coincidence? I think not.

Want to know what’s interesting about the Argus One? Glad you asked. It’s got a “variable rigidity” design, which makes it easier to transport, making it ideal for operating in remote environments, even mountainous ones or rugged terrain (or presumably at sea). It’s adapted, therefore, for use in the coming century’s wars — places like Afghanistan, the rainforest, that sort of thing…where resources can be taken by force, oh wait, I’m sorry, liberated from insurgent groups. The variable rigidity makes it, as far as I can tell, technically a blimp, but with the longer, thinner configuration of a zeppelin or other semi-rigid design. Basically, it’s ultra-portable for deployment in the field with minimum setup and maximum intelligence payoff, as described at the company’s website:

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. Combined with the fact that the Argus One has significantly lower acquisition, maintenance and operation costs as a result of the above characteristics when compared especially to manned airships and fixed-wing UAVs, we believe the Argus One provides government and commercial customers a significantly different alternative for their UAV needs.


Perhaps more importantly, its swell-and-shrink design makes it resemble that other oblong device of “variable rigidity” even more than does its big brother the zeppelin. Phallic airships are one thing, sure…you can bitch and moan all you want about how the New World Order is made up of a bunch of Cigarette Smoking Men whose childhood trauma makes them seek world domination instead of pursuing their dreams of being the world’s most awful pulp writer and shagging Marilyn Monroe.

But when your airship actually responds to stimulation the way the Argus One does, so that your “Group” can more effectively “Surveil” the “World”? Paging Doctor Freud!

Here’s more on the Argus One:

WSGI has developed a new mid-altitude (10,000 to 20,000 foot) LTA UAV, the Argus One, which represents a new airship design and is equipped with our newly developed stabilization system that autonomously controls the level of rigidity of the airship in flight and an integrated payload bay capable of initially carrying up to approximately 30 pounds of high technology sensors, cameras or electronics packages. 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.

The Argus One, named after the Greek god Argus who was the all seeing god with one hundred eyes, is designed to be a customer’s “eyes in the sky” even in remote locations.


“The all seeing god with one hundred eyes.” I’m sorry…is it just me, or did anyone else just get chills?

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