Development of the Navy LTA Program
This chapter focuses on the development of the lighter-than-air aviation (LTA) program. While American involvement in LTA activities before 1917 had been limited, such was not the case in Europe where major combatants had made significant commitments of money, manpower, and materiel. Several categories of “gasbags” had evolved. The rigid airship, of which the zeppelin was the most famous, was constructed around a lightweight metal skeleton and was the largest example of its type. Nonrigid airships, similar in shape but smaller, lacked internal skeletons. The British eventually nicknamed this variety “blimps.”
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