Lockheed Martin agrees to a deal worth $480 Million for a dozen “cargo-carrying hybrid airships. These helium-filled airships are over a football field in length, can hold 19 passengers, not including the crew, and can haul over 20 metric tons of cargo each trip.
These airships were worked under Lockheed Martin’s Secretive Company called Skunk Works Lab. It took over ten years of development to push forward their final product. The Hybrid Airship was developed from a previous Pentagon Program that were positioning the early stages of airships as around the clock surveillance over all surrounding areas related to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom from 2001- 2010.
LMH-1 is the official name that Lockheed has given its Hybrid Airship. It was originally created “as a cheaper and more sustainable way to move cargo”. At first there was very little interest due the high cost per barrel of oil. Lockheed was able to tinker their design to help reduce the oil intake and end cost of each Airship.
Straight-line Aviation, a newly established UK based company provides global freight, cargo and passenger operation services. With this deal, they hope to be able to deliver cargo to rural areas that lack roads and other transportation infrastructures. They plan to use their newly acquired Lockheed Martin Hybrid Airship for the oil, gas, and mining industries.
Chief Executive Officer of SLA, Mike Kendrick interviewed with Bloomberg expressing that,
SLA already has four to five customers ready to give airships a chance once they’re finally in the air.
Lockheed is very confident that they will be able to push out more of their LMH-1 Hybrid Airships. They are able to produce 1 unit in roughly 1 month. The first delivery of the LMH-1 is set to reach SLA in 2018.