July 5 - Germany headquartered ultracapacitator developer Skeleton Technologies is joining forces with French company Flying Whales to build a 60-tonne capacity airship for the global transport market.
The large capacity airship - dubbed LCA60T - will be capable of transporting heavy and oversize cargoes, weighing up to 60 tonnes, in its 75 m long hold or under-slung at speeds of 100 km/h.
According to the two parties, the helium-filled, rigid-structure airship will be capable of winching to pick up and unload cargo while hovering. The companies claim that it will work at the fraction of the cost of a heavy lift helicopter, and will be able to handle much heavier loads. Energy consumption is also expected to be lower.
"A key advantage of the LCA60T is that it will not require an airport or any kind of runway to operate, opening up new markets across the world for industries that require heavy lift or oversize cargo options, across terrain lacking in infrastructure," said Flying Whales ceo Sébastien Bougon.
The airship will initially be designed - as part of the French government's new plans for future transport improvements - to assist the country's forestry industry.
"We're designing the LCA60T to transport logging timber from remote locations, but that also means being able to deliver large items like wind turbines or electricity pylons in one piece to the side of a mountain, for example," added Bougon.
"It could also move prefabricated houses or building modules across undeveloped terrain or transport large aircraft components from one supply chain location to the next."
Bougon suggested that other applications of the airship could improve freight and logistics in remote areas in parts of Africa, for example, where business development is hindered by a lack of transport infrastructure.
Industrial production of the airship is expected to start in 2021.