- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2002

BERLIN (AP) German airship developer CargoLifter AG and aerospace giant Boeing Co. said yesterday they have agreed to explore the development of sophisticated, high-altitude blimps for use in U.S. homeland security defenses.

CargoLifter said it signed a letter of intent with the Boeing Phantom Works research and development division.

CargoLifter's head of corporate development, Christian von Tuempling, said working groups will study potential uses of lighter-than-air craft by military and commercial customers, with a "special focus on homeland defense."

One possibility, he said, would be large airships equipped with special sensors stationed at altitudes as high as 66,000 feet for surveillance purposes.

Though such systems are in the planning stage, U.S. military officials have said high-altitude, unmanned blimps or balloons could play a role in future missile-defense systems.

CargoLifter has sought to market modern versions of the zeppelin airship to move such bulky cargoes.

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