Lockheed Martin has introduced the new LMH1 hybrid airship, a commercialised variant of its half-sized P-791 demonstrator that it first flew in 2006.
The company has been working on this technology for some time, but is now ready to market it for purchase to civil customers, and away from the military market that it was originally designed for.
Lockheed is touting it for cargo-carrying applications, and says it can carry some 21,000kg. It has also entered into an agreement with Hybrid Enterprises to market the system and act as the reseller of the airship.
The company says it is working on developing a 20 tonne system, although it hopes to seal a launch customer before building it, and is no longer testing the P-791.
The airship can carry 19 passengers, has a 1,400nm range, can fly at 60 kts, and can carry 5,000 gal of fuel.
The two-crew airship may also be unmanned in the future, but this is likely to be for military applications - should they come about - as current airspace rules would not permit flight of such a system.
The LMH1 is expected to be certified by the end of 2017, and deliveries could begin as early as 2018, should a launch customer come about.