Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) in collaboration with U.S. defence personnel is set to revolutionise maritime logistics and communication, transforming the way the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps conduct operations across the Pacific and other environments.

Marine Corps Captains Ben Cohen and John Schmaltz, while students at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), became interested in the defence applications of civilian hybrid aircraft like Airlander, the highly efficient aircraft currently under development by HAV, as a disruptive technology, and were introduced to HAV through the NPS alumni network.

Their thesis, which serves as a guide to interaction and engagement for Department of Defense personnel to navigate the innovation ecosystem while assessing commercially developed, large-capacity transportation platforms, has been instrumental in the current work with HAV.

Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund

In the latest development of this work, the Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund (OECIF) in the DOD’s Operational Energy Office recently announced funding for the Zero Carbon Logistics Support Via Hybrid Aircraft project. This ground-breaking collaboration between the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and HAV can enhance logistics, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations, and communications in the Pacific.

Cohen, who currently serves as the director for the SoCal Tech Bridge and will serve as the U.S. lead for the project, said: “As a logistics officer, the challenges with Contested Logistics are at the forefront of my mind. After attending a highly productive working group with the INDOPACOM Logistics, Plans, and Exercises Division in November of 2022, we designed this research effort to be able to respond to many of the challenges identified by the cross-functional team.

“When we reach the second phase, we will be ready to support modeling, simulation, and analysis of the hybrid aircraft in use cases that are defined by any combatant commander, but with a particular eye to contested logistics challenges in INDOPACOM.”
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter