U.S. defense contractor Raytheon is already planning to put its own aerostats (airships which are tethered to the ground) into the skies above the U.S. capital, Washington.
But instead of carrying troops or manufacturing supplies, Raytheon's blimps will be loaded with surveillance equipment, to watch for the threat of attacks.
The catchily-titled Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, or JLENS for short, is designed to scan the skies, the seas and the streets below for signs of danger, be it from incoming missiles and drones, or suspicious boats or trucks.
"An airplane can only stay up for so long, but JLENS is persistent," said Raytheon's Keith McNamara. "Because it's tethered, with its power source on the ground, it can stay up there 24/7 for 30 days at a time.
"And because it's so much higher up than radar on the ground, it can see much further, hundreds of kilometres, as opposed to tens of kilometres."
While Raytheon's blimps will be equipped with all the latest technology, the idea itself is nothing new: hydrogen-filled balloons were used for surveillance during the American Civil War.
It seems that some 260 years after the Montgolfier brothers first ascended into the skies above Paris in a hot air balloon, the glory days of the dirigible may be yet to come.