Post-LEMV, P791 still lives



Lockheed Martin has not given up on hybrid airships despite losing a half-billion dollar order two months ago.

The surprisingly detailed marketing video above appeared on Lockheed’s YouTube channel last week for the first time.

After the Northrop Grumman/Hybrid Air Vehicles team captured the $517 million contract from the US Army to build the long-endurance, multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV), I wondered if Lockheed’s Skunk Works division would remain in the competition.

Bob Ruszkowski, a system engineer for Skunk Works, assured me last week during an interview at AUVSI that Lockheed remains in the airship market.


TDL: Can you address what happens to P791 and that program now after LEMV contract award. Is there sill a future for the program and the technology?

Ruszkowski: Absolutely. We are exploring opportunities for hybrid airships beyond LEMV. The P791 demonstration aircraft that we flew back in I think it was 2006 still exists. It’s still in our hangar. It’s available to use again for other demonstrations. And we learned quite a bit from it, and like I said we’re exploring other opportunities for hybrid airships. 

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3 Responses to Post-LEMV, P791 still lives

  1. Herkeng130 31 August, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    :) Watch out GoodYear, you might have competition for the 2016 Super Bowl

  2. article submission software 16 October, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    So sad there are left so few places where our counterparts could stay updated with the new workings and developments in our (kind of) exclusive niche.

  3. James Bond 14 April, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Hi folks,
    Unfortunately the arodynamic design of the P791 was defective and the result can be seen on the U tube clip of the final approach and wobbly landing. What is obviously visible is the hybrid blimp version of dutch roll, sometimes called a falling leaf stability problem. This is a yaw / roll coupling problem that is sometimes encountered with lifting body shapes. To make matters worse a basic harmonic oscillation between the 4 hoverskirts is also visible.
    It is no suprise to anyone who knows something about modern airship design that the LEMV contract for three HAV 304′s went to Northrop Grummman and partner Hybrid Air Vehicles from Cranfield England, who have by far the most experienced design and engineering team in the LTA sector. First flight will be later this year.
    Regards JB (Gasbags comedy http://www.hybridblimp.net)

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