Russian airship manufacturer Aerosmena is to launch its lenticular-shaped 600 tonne payload airship in 2024.

The aircraft has been designed to perform transport and logistics tasks regardless of ground infrastructure with no need for ports, roads, waterways, airports, airfields, railways, hangars or runways. Aerosmena said the “flying saucer” design will make the airship easier to manoeuvre and landing in a crosswind than other airship projects which use a more traditional elongated hull shape.

The Airship Initiative Design Bureau Aerosmena (AIDBA) develops large payload transport airships. AIDBA is headed by the experienced Russian aircraft designer Orfey Kozlov.

The concept of the Aerosmena airship is based on the principle of thermal ballasting and advanced steering and piloting system. The designers of the AIDBA operate with aerodynamic characteristics lenticular airship which was created from the results of wind tunnel studies and standard systems of mathematical modelling.

Payloads from 20 to 600 tonnes

Aerosmena plans to build a family of airships capable of transporting payloads of 20, 60, 120, 200, 400, 600 tonnes, subject to obtaining an international certificate of airworthiness.

Aerosmena says the airship will create a door-to-door logistics concept delivering cargo and
goods to communities located in remote geographic regions or on small islands, deserts and mountainous areas where there are no roads or infrastructure. The range of non-stop flight of the new generation airship is up to 8,000 km at a speed of 250km per hour.

The Aerosmena airship can carry bulky, oversized and solid cargo and has an external sling that allows loading and unloading in a “hover mode” upon reaching its location. The company says the airship will significantly reduce the cost and time of transport to remote areas.

Lenticular design provides stable aerodynamics

Aerosmena’s lenticular design and a series of supporting helicopter engines provide it stable
aerodynamics. The wing characteristics fully comply with the current international airworthiness standards for traditional transport aircraft.

The company says the platform will not only significantly reduce the costs of transport and logistics operations, but will also be environmentally friendly. A model of the UFO-shaped airship was shown at the International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS) in Russia, as well as personally to the President of Russia.

Airship can be used for humanitarian and environmental protection applications

Aerosmena aeroplatforms are designed not only for transportation only but for applications including environmental protection, humanitarian missions or special operations such as extinguishing wildfires.

The aeroplatform design includes two gas chambers to provide lift. For an airship with a carrying
capacity of 600 tons, 620,000 cubic metres of helium will provide practically “zero” buoyancy for an empty structure. A huge cavity with air, heated to 200 degrees Celsius due to the exhaust of eight helicopter engines, is responsible for lifting the payload.

Related: The airships promising a ‘new era’ for cargo delivery

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