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US Army's hybrid airship makes maiden flight
Posted On: Aug 13, 2012
The US Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle flew for the first time from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, on August 7. A Northrop Photo
A new hybrid unmanned airship developed for the US Army has completed its first flight test on August 7.
The Northrop-designed airship, called the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), took to the sky and flew for more than 90 minutes over Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey.
The maiden flight represents the commencement of flight test programme of the airship having a size of just larger than the length of a football field.
The US Army had awarded a contract to Northrop in June 2010 to design, develop and test the hybrid airship system, which according to the company, is the world's largest, most-persistent, lighter-than-air optionally piloted aircraft.
The LEMV will sustain altitudes of 20,000 feet for a three-week period and will operate within national and international airspace.
The airship will provide unprecedented ISR capabilities to the US Army in the form of an "unblinking stare" over ground troops, ranging anywhere from one day to multiple weeks, Northrop, which has teamed up with other industry majors to develop the new aircraft, said.
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