Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and explore the potential of its Airlander 10 – an ultra-low emissions large aircraft - in security and defence applications, with BAE Systems’ FalconWorks advanced research and technology centre for the Air sector.
The MoU covers consideration of technical and programme collaboration opportunities and exploration of potential defence market opportunities for HAV platforms, as well as related supporting activity.
Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Airlander platforms provide an alternative sustainable and cost-effective solution to air logistics and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, complementing today’s networks of air, space and surface systems.
Airlander is a highly efficient and ultra-low emissions aircraft that opens up new possibilities in modern defence. The hybrid airship has the potential to stay airborne for up to five days while fitted with many tonnes of computing, communications, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Its ability to operate from any reasonably flat surface, including water, with minimal infrastructure, offers mobility, deployability, and flexibility in support of maritime, coastal and land-based expeditionary warfare in areas where current platforms are challenged.
In defence logistics Airlander 10, with the ability to carry up to a 10 tonnes logistics payload, provides longer-range, lower-cost and higher capacity air transport than today’s military transport helicopters. The future Airlander 50 and Airlander 200 platforms will offer low-cost, sustainable, tactical and strategic air lift capability.
Dave Holmes, managing director, FalconWorks, BAE Systems Air said: “The changing character of conflict is driving new and novel approaches across the defence sector, including using new sources of synthetic and sustainable power, new materials and new processes that allow us to harness sustainable tech right from the outset. We’re excited to work closely with the Hybrid Air Vehicles team to jointly explore and advance Airlander’s potential defence and security capabilities.”
Tom Grundy, CEO, Hybrid Air Vehicles added: “At Hybrid Air Vehicles we are revolutionising aviation, and Airlander is designed from first principles to rethink the skies. Airlander can be thought of as the world’s most efficient large aircraft. This has provided new opportunities for the civil regional transport market and also represents a new path forward to deliver net-zero air power capabilities.
“I’m thrilled to announce this MoU with BAE Systems, the UK’s pre-eminent defence and security company, the perfect partner to accelerate the development of modified Airlander systems for the global defence market. This announcement demonstrates the significant momentum that we have built behind the Airlander project, and we are looking forward to carrying that with us into the next, crucial stage of starting production of Airlander 10.”
Today’s MoU follows on from the strong partnerships Hybrid Air Vehicles has formed with the United States’ Naval Postgraduate School and the US Department of Defense Operational Energy Office. These and other ongoing research, development and testing activities underline the value of Airlander across communications, surveillance and logistics roles.