The two huge hangars at Cardington airfield, 50 miles north of London, stand as witness to the golden age of the airships in the 1930s. Inside one of them, a successor to those giants of the sky is being prepared for flight. British company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) is pursuing the goal held by so many proponents of lighter-than-air (LTA) and related technology for so many years. The goal of revolutionizing the air cargo market–and maybe also the persistent surveillance market–with buoyant lift.
This could be the shape of things to come–moving cargo into remote locations on a large, lighter-than-air (LTA) craft. Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) of the UK is still pushing the LTA concept for a variety of missions, despite the early demise of the U.S. Army’s Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) surveillance program. HAV provided the design and key components to Northrop Grumman for the LEMV, which fell behind schedule and flew only once, in August 2012.
The U.S. Army cancelled development of the Northrop Grumman long-endurance, multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV), a huge, optionally manned hybrid airship that the service planned to deploy to Afghanistan as an urgent requirement for persistent surveillance. The airship was overweight and behind schedule; it made its first and only announced flight last August, about 10 months late.
Northrop Grumman has proposed its long-endurance multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV) hybrid airship to meet new Indian requirements for border surveillance, AIN has learned from a senior official at the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The huge, unmanned LEMV was being developed for U.S. Army missions over Afghanistan, but has fallen behind schedule. It first flew last August, one year later than promised.
The flight of the Lockheed Martin high-altitude long endurance-demonstrator (HALE-D) airship ended after less than three hours last week in a forced landing. Two days later, much of it was destroyed by a ground fire during recovery operations. The HALE-D was the first of three lighter-than-air vehicles due to fly this year with Pentagon funding, as the U.S.
A comeback for airships? How many times have you heard that before? However, thanks to generous funding by the Pentagon, four separate projects to develop very large buoyant air vehicles for unmanned persistent surveillance missions are under way in the U.S. Three of them are to take to the air within the next few months.