Hybrid airship deal expected to benefit oil and mining industries – by Bill Graveland (Canadian Business – March 30, 2016)

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/

The Canadian Press – CALGARY – The long-held vision of giant airships nearly the length of a Canadian football field delivering workers and supplies to the oilsands and the North’s mining sector is a step closer to reality.

U.S.-based Lockheed Martin has announced it has a letter of intent to sell 12 hybrid airships to Straightline Aviation of the United Kingdom. Straightline and Hybrid Enterprises, Lockheed Martin’s hybrid airship reseller, are finalizing the purchase agreement, which has a potential value of US$480 million.

Straightline expects to start receiving the airships, which have a maximum speed of 110 kilometres an hour and a cargo capacity of 20 tonnes, in 2018 with the final ones arriving by 2021.

The airships are expected to be deployed in Canada’s North, Alaska, southeast Asia and the Middle East. Mike Kendrick, Straightline co-founder and chief executive officer, said there are already customers interested.

“It’s important to focus on the low-hanging fruit and the biggest problem and the biggest need at this particular point is the oil, gas and mining fraternity,” he said.

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