September 24. British company Hybrid Air Vehicles has received the contract to build the newest model of the airship for the U.S. Army.
Contract valued at 500 million pounds (more than 800 million dollars) can contribute to the creation of hundreds of jobs in a company located in the town of Cranfield in Bedfordshire, north of London.
Refers to the delivery of 3-hybrid airships, the first of which has already made a test flight in the state of New Jersey, near the spot where in 1937 a tragedy occurred eminent German airship «Hindenburg».
Designing happened in collaboration with the American aerospace company Northrop Grumman.
The historic flight
The test flight took place on August 7 this year at the airbase Lakehurst, where up to now the sweat is a big hangar, built 100 years ago. In the 20s and 30s of last century, it was used for passenger service of giant airships that carried transatlantic flights.
British company for many years engaged in the design of the experimental apparatus is lighter than air. She also achieved great success in this. But the contract for the construction of a 3-hybrid vehicles, which are mixed characteristics of the airship and aircraft displays her favorite industry.
Experts note that the 122-meter flight apparatus LEMV was a historic moment for Britain, with its extensive experience in airship.
As the representative of the company Hybrid Air Vehicles, these devices will be used by the U.S. Army in 2-versions — both manned cargo airships as unmanned observation platforms.
According to the director of design programs from Nick Allman, this project involved a group of almost 100 developers; enthusiasm for it also expressed potential customers in Canada, the U.S., Brazil, in the Near East and in Australia.
LEMV unit was created in record time not long. Nick knows how Allman, design and all 30 thousand: preparation component of the first 3 units took two years.
Volume history of lighter-than-air
English historian John Suinfild knows complicated history airship, but he believes that the British company has a chance of success.
Britain is one of the first European countries began to build small airships before the First World War.
But the real merit got her rivals — first, Germany and the U.S., which in the 20s launched the construction of giant passenger airships, which used hydrogen for creating lift.
Airships «Count von Zeppelin» and later «Hindenburg» made transatlantic flights.
Americans did in the 1930s, transportation and military airships, aircraft carriers, which were to act as flying airfields for fighter aircraft. But by the beginning of the second World War, the samples were left.
Cost almost very expensive and dangerous operation was due to continued ability hydrogen ignition.
Please 1930s in Britain were also developed similar machines, airships R-100 and R-101. But the collapse of the airship R-101 in the first flight in 1931 and followed a year later tragedy «Hindenburg», in which 35 people died, forever put an end to dreams of aircraft lighter than air.
Slowly, but inexpensive
In the new economic revival of an old idea criteria based on constantly grows due to the high price of airline fuel prices. New airships filled with inert helium, more harmless.
Introduction of massive and small engines makes them very economical transport, capable of carrying significant loads — up to 100 tons, and in the future and more — over long distances with significantly lowest cost than conventional transport aircraft.
Company Hybrid Air Vehicles placed near an old airfield in Cardington, where many British airships were tested in the 30s, including a large R-100, whose length exceeds the length of a football field.
There hitherto preserved two large hangars, public phones located lighter than air.