Weapons contractors Northrop Grumman have been tapped by the U.S. Army to fulfill a $517 million (that’s a lot of cash) agreement to create a “Long Endurance Mulit-Intelligence Vehicle” for the war in Afghanistan. Really, though, it’s a war blimp.

Over the coming 18 months the company will design, develop and test the LEMV, then deploy it for military field testing. The idea here is to have a “persistent, unblinking eye” offering intelligence as an unmanned aerial vehicle to U.S. Army troops on the ground for a shockingly-long 3 weeks at a time. Flying geosynchronously at over 20,000 feet, the war blimp will have a bevy of interchangeable sensors for monitoring the goings on below.