Lockheed Martin hybrid airships are coming to Alaska
01 September 2016
Hybrid Enterprises will be introducing the world’s first heavy lift Hybrid Airship – the LMH-1 – to Alaska and Northern Canada to help move freight and personnel.
To achieve this, Hybrid Enterprises also announces a strategic partnership between PRL Logistics Inc., a leader in remote site logistics and UK-based Hybrid Airship owner and operator, Straightline Aviation.
Developed and built by Lockheed Martin, the LMH-1 has the ability to land on virtually any surface including snow, ice, gravel and even water. These football field sized airships will provide low cost and environmentally friendly solutions for moving freight and personnel to the most isolated regions of Alaska and Northern Canada.
“Lockheed Martin would be proud to have its Hybrid Airships operating in Alaska,” said Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works). “Alaska is an ideal location for the Hybrid Airship to operate. The airship enables access to Alaska’s most isolated regions, and is designed to protect the sensitive ecological environment.”
Hybrid Airships combine the technology of lighter than air aircraft with airplanes, helicopters and hovercraft. Helium provides 80 percent of the lift, and the remaining lift comes from the aerodynamic shape of the aircraft and its four thrust vectoring engines. The airship also features a hovercraft-like Air Cushion Landing System that facilitates taxiing and holds the craft firmly on the ground.
PRL Logistics is founded, owned and operated in Alaska, offering a variety of project services and comprehensive logistics solutions including: project management, project planning, modeling, safety, procurement and field execution. PRL serves a broad range of projects and clients in the oil and gas, mining, defence, industrial, construction and environmental industries.
“PRL’s understanding of the complexities of working in Alaska’s extremely remote site and our partnership with Straightline Aviation, whose airship operating experience is unparalleled, means this will be a true game changer. It affordably opens up many projects currently inaccessible without the development of the costly infrastructure required by traditional modes of transportation.” Ron Hyde, PRL CEO.
Michael Kendrick, Chief Executive of Straightline Aviation added, “we are equally thrilled to enter into this alliance with PRL and merge our understanding of airship operations with their unique knowledge of logistics, working in some of the most unforgiving terrain and conditions on the planet. Together we will usher in a new environmentally friendly age of air transport.”
U.S. Senator from Alaska, Dan Sullivan, also a former Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources said “I am pleased to hear this announcement. Alaska is a storehouse of immense natural resource wealth. This combination of technology and innovation will enable access to resources and provide needed benefits to our infrastructure. It is an example of a company operating to provide a transportation solution to meet Alaska’s unique challenges.”
For Alaska, airship operations will be based at the PRL Logistics Operations Centre in Kenai, Alaska and supported by other PRL locations throughout the state. PRL’s premier Kenai Facility has overland, marine, and aviation access and will also be the base operations centre for the Hybrid Airship.
The first aircraft are to be delivered in 2019 and will carry up to 22,000kg of freight, along with 18 passengers plus crew.