June 20 - Paris, France-based Hybrid Air Freighters (HAF) has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to purchase up to 12 of Lockheed Martin's Hybrid Airships, at a total value of approximately USD500 million.

HAF is working with Hybrid Enterprises, the exclusive reseller of these aircraft, to finalise the purchase agreement.

The signing of the latest LoI comes just over 12 months after UK-based Straightline Aviation (SLA) signed the first LoI to buy up to 12 of the aircraft manufacturer's Hybrid Airships for approximately USD480 million.

There has been little news on the firming up of that LoI into a purchase agreement.

Both SLA and HAF were established specifically to act as owner-operators of the Lockheed Martin Hybrid Airships.

Lockheed Martin says its Hybrid Airship provides affordable and safe delivery of cargo and personnel to virtually anywhere, on water or land.

"We are keen to implement such an impressive innovation in the logistics market," said Hubert de Contenson, chief executive officer of HAF. "The LMH-1 will open a new era for remote cargo delivery that is free from costly ground infrastructure and will provide a sustainable and affordable solution to remote cargo operations around the globe."

"With a 21-ton (19.05-tonne) cargo payload and the ability to land on any surface, the LMH-1 Hybrid Airship is designed to revolutionise remote cargo delivery," said Rob Binns, chief executive officer of Hybrid Enterprises.

Lockheed Martin claims that due to their shape and air cushion landing system, Hybrid Airships can affordably transport heavy cargo and/or passengers to and from the most remote locations. They require little or no fixed ground infrastructure and burn significantly less fuel compared to conventional aircraft making them an environmentally friendly solution to remote cargo delivery.