Engineering

Revolutionary Lockheed Martin Airship

Goods transport in the remotest parts of the world: this should allow LMH-1 – an airship by Lockheed Martin. The defense company wants to send the white giant 2018 in the air.

On Earth, more than two-thirds of the rural areas have no access to paved roads. The transport of the goods is so difficult and expensive. Lockheed Martin has sensed a gap in the market here and conjure up its legendary Skunk Works Development Department. Result is LMH-1 a 40 million $ expensive airship, which come on the market in 2018. The company wants to sell up to 500 copies in the following years.

LMH-1 is a so-called hybrid airship – a mixture of aircraft, helicopters and air ship. The Zeppelin is made up of three helium-filled cells that have a wing-shaped cross-section and generate more buoyancy. LMH-1 can carry this up to 20 tons payload and 19 passengers. And consumes as much fuel as a plane supposedly only one-fifth.

Around the world with a tank of gas

And moving forward? You take four diesel engines 300 HP each and swiveling propellers, which accelerate the airship at a top speed of 60 knots (equal to 111 km/h). The Zeppelin flies full loading about 2,200 kilometers. “If they fly more slowly, they come on however much”, says Bob Boyd, Lockheed Manager for hybrid systems of flight, in a report of CNBC.

You can circumnavigate the planet once on one tank

And for whom is the airship interesting? Especially for gas, oil and mining companies. “Lockheed Martin’s air ships will dramatically reduce the cost and impact on the environment at the transport of loads in inaccessible areas”, said Rob Binns, Managing Director of Lockheed sales partner hybrid enterprises, the flying Revue magazine. “You allow it to reach places that were previously simply unreachable.” The white giant can land on lakes. Feet cushions make this possible.

Air ship can withstand even bullet holes

And the gas in an airship is safe? Yes, says Boyd. Even bullet holes could be the LMH-1 not dangerous. “He does not burst like a balloon. We are still a military supplier and have enough expertise to build defense systems.”

Hybrid Air Vehicles
Hybrid Air Vehicles

Lockheed Martin is not the only company that relies on hybrid airships. Hybrid air vehicles (HAV) include the Airlander 10 a 92 m long airship of the British company competitors. Of the 35 million $ expensive Zeppelin is 148 km/h somewhat faster than the LMH-1, can carry cargo but also only 10 t. HAV is planning over the next 20 years 600 copies with a total value of 50 billion $ to depose. Mass production is to start in 2018.

Hybrid Air
LMH-1 consists of three helium-filled cells that have a wing-shaped cross-section and generate additional buoyancy. Thus the Zeppelin consumes only one-fifth as much fuel as a plane. Photo: Lockheed Martin