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Hybrid Air Vehicles provide the platform for Northrop Grumman win

Northrop Grumman have won a contract with the US Army to provide a Long-Endurance, Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV). The platform selected by Northrop Grumman is based on the Hybrid Air Vehicles lifting body/LTA design, and is designed to lift a payload of 2500 lbs to 20,000 feet for periods of up to 3 weeks.

Picture: Northrop Grumman. The payload carried by the LEMV platform is planned to provide US warfighters with persistent stare capability which can 'plug and play' with existing information systems. The first flight is planned to take place within 18 months, followed by a military assessment, then delivery to theatre for field trials shortly thereafter. The Hybrid Air Vehicles design team was led by Roger Munk, until his recent untimely death, and have a long pedigree in modern LTA platforms, starting with the design and build of the Skyship 500 and 600 series, the Westinghouse/Airship Industries US Navy Airship project of the 1980s, and the AT-10. In the late 1990s, the HAV Team returned to first principles, and looked at what inhibitors existed in traditional LTA design that prevented the wider uptake of LTA for transportation. Having concluded that the manpower-intensive ground-handling of traditional airships, and the difficulty of off-loading a LTAV without some form of load-exchange (adding equal weight, to replace the weight of unloaded goods or people), the design team turned to the lifting body concept to resolve the issues that they had identified. HAV's Skycat series and its derivatives are the result. The HAV Skycat series of concept designs http://www.hybridairvehicles.com/ range in payload from 20 tons to 200 tons, but with further materials development it may be possible to extend the payload to 500 tons. For further information on the Northrop Grumman contract, please see http://www.irconnect.com/noc/press/pages/news_releases.html?d=194252

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