Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the British company developing a new generation airship, is partnering with BAE Systems’ aerospace research and innovation subsidiary, FalconWorks.
The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the research of defense and security applications for the Airlander 10, the airship model that HAV is currently working on.
Features of the Airlander 10 could make it an interesting platform for some military missions, such as intelligence collection, surveillance, and logistics.
Airships like the Airlander 10 can spend several days airborne, thanks to their low energy consumption, and can also take off and land from improvised locations, without the need for complex infrastructure.
The Airlander 10 has attracted the interest of commercial operators, such as Spanish airline group Air Nostrum, which value the aircraft’s potential operational flexibility and low carbon footprint.
Its origins, however, are in a US military research program called Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV). The program was canceled a decade ago, prompting the company to switch its focus towards the civilian market. Nevertheless, HAV has never given up on the military market and currently has partnerships with the United States’ Naval Postgraduate School and the US Department of Defense Operational Energy Office.