The US Air Force (USAF) persistent-surveillance airship, Blue Devil 2, is expected to be on track for operational deployment in February 2012.

The 23ft-long Blue Devil 2 is an optionally manned multi-intelligence platform based on a TCOM Polar 100 airship and can be flown both unmanned and manned.

Blue Devil 2 is equipped with a wide and narrow field-of-view, high-definition electro-optical / infrared video sensors and a signals-intelligence payload.

The airship is a collaboration between the air force, the army and the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, and will perform cueing, collection, geolocation and target identification.

The airship’s hull is to be completed in July and the first flight is scheduled for September this year, according to Aviationweek.

SAIC, the prime contractor, was awarded the initial contract in October 2010.