The U.S. military first hybrid airship took off on its maiden voyage in second week of August 2012, hovering above New Jersey in a successful test flight. The LEMV, which took off from New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst base, was piloted for the test flight of 90 mminutes, but has the ability to function as an unmanned vehicle. It can float at an altitude of about 22,000 feet for upto 21 days, and can travel at about 92 mph. The LEMV’s strong skin - a blend of Vectran, Kevlar and Mylar - can endure a reasonable amount of small arms fire from enemies on the ground.
First test flight of LEMV ( Image Courtesy - aopa.org )
Lakehurst, where the LEMV took flight, is no stranger to airships. The base is also the site where there was a tragedy of Hindenburg crash in 1937. Lakehurst seems to have risen back as a Phoenix, with this test flight of US Army Airship.
LEMV also has significant endurance, and can stay afloat above a battlefield or insurgent hotspot for up to 21 days - at a fraction of the cost of other military options.
First test flight of LEMV ( Video Courtesy - youtube )
In a statement, the U.S. Army said the LEMV 'is intended to be used to conduct long-term intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or ISR, and persistent stare-type missions, and can also be used as a communications relay.'
News Courtesy - aopa.org and dailymail.co.uk
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