Vertex Aerospace and Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd (HAV) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to present joint proposals for the provision of a fully configured Airlander 10 aircraft to the US Department of Defense (DoD).
The Airlander 10 provides persistent multi-domain intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, computing and communication capabilities, and a host of airborne effects to meet the needs of multi-domain operations, and other special missions.
Airlander 10’s predecessor, the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), was originally developed for the US Army. HAV has continued to refine the aircraft in readiness for rate production, with the goal of delivering aircraft for a range of civilian and military roles.
Vertex has a track record of delivering to defence customers through fixed wing, rotary and UAV aircraft and meeting the needs of the US DoD.
Tom Grundy Chief Executive, Hybrid Air Vehicle said: “Vertex brings that capability to integrate the mission systems that these aircraft will require to support them in the field, to put people out with them and deliver the range of training and support systems that the aircraft will need around it. It really gives us the rounded capability to be ready to be put into service with Airlander’s first military customers.”
10-100 times more capability for equipment carrying
Grundy outlined the difference in the Airlander 10’s capabilities compared with rotary, fixed wing or UAV
“Our big difference comes in the length of time that we can be in the air and the amount of capability or mission systems that we can carry while we are there. If you look carrying equipment for long periods of time, on that metric, we are 10 to 100 times more capable or have more capacity than current fixed wing, rotary wing or UAV solutions.”
Grundy added: “That’s really important, because it gives us multi-sensor capability in one place, in the air, for long periods of time. It allows the military to gain persistent awareness of the domain they are in.”
HAV is currently consolidating requirements for Airlander 10 from different parts of the market and letters of intent have been signed for the purchase of aircraft. The production programme is set to deliver aircraft into service from 2024.