The Walrus heavy-transport blimp (“heavy” as in “1-2 million pounds”) was among a range of projects on the drawing board in the mid ’00s. It offered the potential for a faster and more versatile sealift substitute. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded phase 1 contracts, but things seemed to end in 2006. Yet the imperatives driving the need for Walrus, or even for a much smaller version of it, remain. Is the Walrus dead? And could it, or a Hybrid Ultra Large Aircraft (HULA) like it, rise again?
Recent presentations and initiatives in several US armed services, and some commercial ventures, indicate that it might.