AUVSI: SAIC and ZLT Zeppelin team on airship

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SAIC and ZLT Zeppelin are teaming to develop the MPZ 07 airship, an optionally piloted version of the current Zeppelin N07, which was introduced in 1997.

The airship features a three-engine propulsion system, fly-by-wire flight controls and a semi-automated mooring system that cuts down on the number of ground support personnel needed to operate it. An optionally manned airship can help enable access to airspace but provide the endurance and flexibility of an unmanned vehicle, the companies say.

"By uniting the capabilities of these two companies, we will create a strong engineering team that can develop and deliver platforms which will enable our customers to achieve their objectives," says Loginn Kapitan, vice president and general manager of SAIC's Intelligent Systems Division, based in Arlington, Va. ZLT Zeppelin is based in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

The companies may cooperate on the development of several larger enhanced airships that would combine Zeppelin's aircraft with SAIC's flight control systems.