Briten läuten das neue Zeitalter der Zeppeline ein

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Briten läuten das neue Zeitalter der Zeppeline ein

Beitragvon hilgenberg » Mo, 21.02.2011 21:19

The pioneering Brits who are heralding the dawn of the new Zeppelin age

in der Daily Mail ... l?ITO=1490

By Phil Robinson
Last updated at 2:06 AM on 21st February 2011

When the Hindenburg blew up in 1937, so did the airship industry. So why is Britain building a fleet of the world's biggest, for the Americans, in our old Zeppelin sheds?

The American Department of Defense thinks so. They have just handed a £315 million contract to design and build the world’s largest flying object to a small British company based in Bedfordshire. Having beaten aviation giants Lockheed Martin, Hybrid Air Vehicles have just four months to build the belly and bones of the craft – the payload module, the fuel tanks, the four engines, the propulsion ducts and bow thrusters (the prototype is pictured on the previous pages).

If all goes to plan these parts will leave its secure manufacturing facility in May, be loaded on a vast Antonov cargo plane, and flown to Arizona where they will join up with the ‘envelope’ (ie, the balloon).

Once assembly is complete, military technology giant Northrop Grumman will add the top-secret surveillance equipment and the vehicle will travel on its own power to a U.S. army base on the east coast of the United States. Once there the U.S. military will put the fully assembled 300ft long craft through its places, flying it with pilots and without.

When it finally completes testing and trials in January 2012, it will leave the US and fly back across the Atlantic to the UK, the first time this has happened since the heyday of Zeppelins in the Thirties.

Guided by a three-man crew, the giant ship will stay at a U.S. Army base here, ready to be deployed. It will be available for use in Afghanistan where it can be flown remotely, climbing to 20,000ft and circling for 21 days, an omniscient god perpetually surveying the battlefield and giving advance warnings of IED attacks and ambushes.
The team now has 100 engineers and designers and the firm has ditched its draughty sheds for two brand new office buildings nearby. But if Hybrid Air Vehicles’ potential is taken up then the team hopes to begin manufacturing and storing the vehicles again in Cardington.

Although the first 300ft version of the craft has been commissioned by the U.S. military, the real commercial potential of the vehicles could be for heavy lifting, says director of sales Gordon Taylor ...
‘You can forget ice road truckers too in places with more extreme cold,’ he adds.

‘They can carry the same load that goes on the back of those trucks and they love the cold because you get more lift in the denser air. We have a version with a 20-ton payload, which is what a Lockheed C-130 Hercules carries. We have plans for craft to eventually carry up to 1,000 tons.’

The team is already in formal discussions with oil companies that routinely spend hundreds of millions of dollars on roads and airports every time they find a new supply of oil or gas. By using HAVs the oil companies would simply be able to touch down without need of an airport.

‘Some of these companies are paying a million dollars a day in the development of infrastructure.

'You could run these hybrids in convoy too, of course. The price difference between air freight and shipping is huge – so what if you could move freight by air but for a similar price as a ship? It could mean a whole new market in transport.’

Das größte Vergnügen im Leben besteht darin, Dinge zu tun, die man nach
Meinung anderer Leute nicht fertigbringt. (Aymé, Marcel)
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