What the HAV304 and AIRLANDER Surveillance Vehicles are designed to do
In November 2011 the Congressional Budget Office in the US published a report called Recent Development Efforts for Military Airships, in which they state that:
“LEMV … will provide substantially greater payload-duration than do the three Predator class unmanned aircraft in use today: the Air Force’s Predator and Reaper and the Army’s Grey Eagle. For example, at a 500-nautical mile combat radius, the Army’s LEMV would have a payload-duration about 80 times that of the Grey Eagle.”
The hybrid air vehicle provides an ultra-long endurance platform with exceptional stability. It has been called a “game-changer” by the US Army, exceeding the capability of all other platforms in terms of low operating costs, duration and payload. With unmanned surveillance of up to 21 days at up to 20,000 feet (6,096 meters), and up to 5 days manned at 16,000 feet, it offers true “persistence” in surveillance and can operate in partnership with other land, sea and air-based assets to offer a complete security solution. All this can be achieved at a comparatively low operating cost. With such endurance, the vehicle provides Situational Awareness (SA) and a pattern of life over a very large area of land and sea, which has hitherto been unavailable. In receiving this SA, commanders (either on-board or at a Commander Centre) have a much earlier warning of threats and can deploy their complementary assets more effectively. This increases operational effectiveness and reduces overall cost.
The ability to operate from an unprepared base, carry more and larger sensors than competitors and do so for longer is a major tactical and strategic advantage.
Examples of uses
- Managing Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
- High-endurance surveillance and interdiction
- Counter intelligence
- Force protection
- Aid humanitarian relief
- Communications relay
- Immigration service & border patrol
- Search & rescue
- Long range drug enforcement
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