But rather than ladies in hoop skirts pedaling across the Manhattan skyline on hybrid bicycle/balloon contraptions, the new Era of Airships 2.0 may look more like the one envisioned by Lockheed Martin, moving cargo instead of people.
With a 10-by-10-by-60-foot cargo bay and a 21-short-ton cargo payload, Lockheed's LMH-1 Hybrid Airship design is one of the most ambitious air-freight projects in years.
At this year’s Paris Air Show, Hybrid Air Freighters (HAF) signed a Letter of Intent to purchase up to 12 of Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airships from Hybrid Enterprises, the exclusive reseller of Lockheed Martin’s airship vehicles. The deal is valued at approximately $500m.
In addition to its enormous lift capacity, the Hybrid Airship can land on surfaces where other aircraft can’t. The logistics business has struggled for years to deliver oversized payloads to remote sites, and doing so has required expensive infrastructure development, such as airports, long runways, roads and port facilities. The LMH-1, however, could, in theory, provide end-to-end deliveries, touching down in small clearings at the remotes sites where oil and gas exploration tends to take place, thus eliminating massive development costs.
“The LMH-1 Hybrid Airship is designed to revolutionize remote cargo delivery,” said Rob Binns, CEO of Hybrid Enterprises.
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