March 31 - Straightline Aviation (SLA) has signed a letter of intent to purchase up to 12 Lockheed Martin hybrid airships with a potential value of approximately USD480 million.

SLA is working with Lockheed Martin's hybrid airship reseller Hybrid Enterprises to finalise the purchase agreement.

"We are delighted to be first in line with this magnificent aircraft that is going to dramatically change the way cargo is moved around the world," said SLA's co-founder and ceo, Mike Kendrick.

"The clear-cut economic and environmental advantages of these Hybrids are attracting vast amounts of attention from a wide range of potential end users."

Lockheed Martin claims that the hybrid airship can affordably transport cargo and passengers to and from the most remote locations.

The airship requires little or no fixed ground infrastructure and burns significantly less fuel compared to conventional aircraft, added the company.