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DSEI 2023: BAE Systems to explore military opportunities for HAV airship

BAE Systems is now working to find military applications and customers for the Airlander 10 hybrid airship. (HAV)

BAE Systems is to explore military opportunities for the Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) Airlander 10 hybrid airship.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) announced at the DSEI 2023 defence exhibition in London on 13 September will see the FalconWorks division of BAE Systems identify defence and security logistics and long-endurance airborne communications and surveillance requirements that might be satisfied by the ultralow-emissions large aircraft.

β€œThe 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,” the announcement said.

The Airlander 10 is based on the HAV 304 that was used by the US Army for its aborted Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) programme, before that programme was cancelled in 2013.

As noted by HAV, the Airlander 10 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, the company said.

It added that in defence logistics, Airlander 10's 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 airlift capability, HAV said.

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