March 5 - The UK Government-backed Technology Strategy Board has awarded a

The grant is part of a GBP4 million (USD6.67 million) public/private sector project to build an innovative air vehicle combining the best of helicopters, airplanes and airships capable of lifting up to 50 tonnes. It will be able to carry cargoes point-to-point and operate with minimal ground infrastructure and support, says HAV.

According to HAV, two independent studies have calculated the market for these types of aircraft to be between 600 and 1000 units; it hopes to produce 10 hybrid vehicles per-year and, in turn, create 1,800 jobs in the Bedfordshire area.

The UK's business secretary, Vince Cable, commented: "As part our long term industrial strategy we are jointly funding £2 billion of research and development into the next generation of quieter, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly planes. That includes backing projects like Hybrid Air Vehicles innovative low carbon aircraft, which can keep us at the cutting edge of new technology. Here is a British SME that has the potential to lead the world in its field."

HAV's ceo, Stephen McGlennad added: "This Government support shows that HAV has a credible way of solving one of the aerospace industries key challenges - creating a viable low carbon aircraft which can travel for days and for thousands of miles without refuelling, landing without the need for airports.  It is a great story of a British company leading the world."

HAV flew the world's largest aircraft in 2012, the Airlander 10 (the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle project in the USA), and is resuming flight trials of that aircraft this year as a prototype for a 50 tonne heavy-lift hybrid aircraft, the Airlander 50.