Thailand to Use Blimp to Seek Guerillas

Is a big, easy-to-hit helium-filled blimp just the ticket for hunting jihadi guerillas in Thailand's strife-torn southern region? The Royal Thai Army says it is, and an Arlington, Virginia-based company is defending its harshly criticized US$ 9.7 million sale of the blimp, equipped with infrared thermal cameras, to the Thais. Scathing criticism of the California-built Sky Dragon blimp and its cameras has been published repeatedly in Thailand's media during recent weeks, and voiced by worried politicians who describe the airship as a waste of money, not fully able to fly on operational missions, and impractical for Thailand's low-intensity guerrilla war where Muslim rebels hide in hilly jungles.

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