Posted by Graham Warwick
The US Air Force may have cancelled its persistent surveillance airship, but the US Army has kept the faith, and today (August 7) Northrop Grumman’s Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) made its delayed first flight.
No pictures have been released yet, but the 300ft-plus-long hybrid airship flew manned for more than 90min from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. The Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command statement says:
“The first flight primary objective was to perform a safe launch and recovery with a secondary objective to verify the flight control system operation. Additional first flight objectives included airworthiness testing and demonstration, and system level performance verification. All objectives were met during the first flight.”
When Northrop signed the $154 million contract for the LEMV in June 2010, first flight was scheduled for 12-13 months into the 18-month development program. The airship is planned to deploy to Afghanistan after the completion of testing, which would now put it into early 2013.
Source: Aviation Week
Click here to see a brief video of the United States Army Airship courtesy of wired.com
Click here to see another video of the U.S. Army Airship courtesy of the verge.com