Technical requirements for the SkyFreighter as defined by our customers
The technical section, provided by Millennium Airship Inc. (MAS), first addresses the
must have system attributes required to meet overall customer system requirements
identified by their top level requirements.
Notional System Concept
MAS recognize that the world requires a revolutionary hybrid heavy lift Airship to
fulfill 21st Century transformation mission requirements. These requirements result
in the need for an air vehicle that can provide heavy lift global reach transport of
varying weights, sizes and volume. MAS will start with a 50 ton lift vehicle and will
base the production of larger air vehicles on future demands; however we have
already been queried on a 500 ton lift vehicle. Once the 50 ton vehicle is designed
and in initial testing a decision will be made on larger sizes. The SkyFreighter 50
ton aircraft proposed operating perimeters will be as follows:
Cargo weight - 70 tons
Cargo volume - 14 TEU's
Maximum range - 2000 Nautical miles @ 50 ton payload
Cruise speed - 80 kts
Landing zone - 2000 ft diameter circle
Fuel - Jet-A
Obstacles - 3 foot (including water)
Global Distances or HHLAV Deployment Possibilities
The greatest drawback of past Airship technology has been the need for a ground crew
at an off-airport reception site for tethering infrastructure or for ballast offsets to control
air vehicle buoyancy during loading and unloading or ground activities. HHLAV needs none
of these large infrastructure requirements at the deployment point or at the home
operations or provisioning end. HHLAV is the design concept for a state of the art LTA air
vehicle developed by Millennium Airship, which does not require any infrastructure for
landing or take off or loading and unloading operations.
Vehicle Objectives and Mission Description
The customer will participate with MAS to review and validate the critical system
attributes to meet their overall requirements. MAS propose these generic top tier
requirements to support the achievement of essential customer mission priorities for this
Once unloaded the HHLAV should be able to fly Very light under altitude controlling
vectored thrust to the nearest source, which could be many hundreds of miles away
where ballast can be collected. At this time, we are anticipating the removal of re-cyclable
materials and waste from environmentally sensitive and remote locations on the return
leg of each freight delivery. In the event that this cannot occur, we anticipate the use of
water bladders that can be loaded at the remote site via local water sources and stand
alone pumping systems.
Ability to (Maintain) Position during Loading and Unloading
HHLAV will be equipped with an undercarriage capable of bearing 50-70 tons of cargo.
Undercarriage trade studies should be conducted to determine the best materials,
architecture, and geometry for load bearing and salt-water immersion requirements to be
used on HHLAV. Analysis will also be done to optimize the undercarriage strength for
rough terrain to ensure the gear will tolerate the landing zone conditions to be
encountered at a given point of insertion (minimum 3-foot obstacle clearance). However,
it is presumed that no undercarriage system of a HHLAV air vehicle will survive even a
Short Take Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) landing that makes contact with 3+ foot high
obstacles when the air vehicle weighs 50+ tons.
Low-Speed Controlled Maneuver
To meet operational requirements, the HHLAV air vehicle must be controllable at low
speeds and under the control of the pilot.
Landing Site Flexibility
Runway infrastructures are not required for the HHLAV as the lift provided by the
envelope and Thrust Wings capability will make near vertical takeoff and landing a reality.
HHLAV's keel/hull and major structural components should be constructed primarily of
advanced carbon fiber composite, along with metal components necessary, to provide
lightness, rigidity and strength as well as ease of maintenance. These materials will
withstand repeated landings into unimproved landing sites, including vertical obstacles 3-
feet high, and sea-state 3 sea conditions allowing the HHLAV to land and load or unload
on either water or land, even in adverse conditions.
Ability to Operate in Adverse Weather
HHLAV's cockpit should be equipped with all standard FAA required instrumentation
including satellite weather tracking and moving map equipment, including Terrain
Avoidance Warning System (TAWS), and advanced redundant integrated flight
management system. Thus HHLAV will be as able as present day commercial air vehicle to
avoid weather systems. HHLAV air vehicle are inherently stable in flight and are not
subject to turbulence in the same manner as fixed wing air vehicle. The massive size and
slow speed of the air vehicle also minimizes buffeting due to air turbulence. HHLAV will be
lightning protected. Its sheer size will have a mitigating effect on forces placed on the
HHLAV should not require infrastructure for protection during normal operations or for
maintenance. The preferred material being examined for HHLAV's envelope needs to
deter atmospheric pollutants and retain its flexibility in both cold and hot extreme
Payload size is an important system attribute priority. Expected load size and weight
depends upon the finished size of the air vehicle. Interior cargo bay space can be
expanded and configured to fit the corresponding size and needs of most any
HHLAV models are expected to range in sizes up to 400+ feet in length capable of
lifting up to 70 tons of fully assembled materiel and personnel. Loading bay doors/ramps
front and rear will be proportionate to the size of the cargo bay. The doors will provide a
shielded access to the cargo bay for roll on, roll off operation. The side doors facilitate
dockside loading and unloading.
HHLAV is expected to travel at speeds up to 100 mph and is capable of traveling up to
2,000 total miles without re-fueling; HHLAV realizes significant timesaving in turn-
around time while fulfilling mission requirements.
HHLAV's standard operating altitude of 10,000 feet or lower will not require cabin
pressurization. However, it should be able to operate at altitudes as high as 20,000 feet
with crew and passengers on supplemental oxygen.
Load and Unload Time
The time required to load or unload cargo will be primarily dependent upon the size,
amount and nature of the cargo. The loadmaster and the power/systems engineer to
facilitate the process as well as reduce docking time required for sea operations will
oversee loading and unloading. Roll-on, roll-off and ramp-pull capabilities both front and
rear will facilitate speedy loading and unloading of cargo and personnel.
Mission-Tailorable Payload Area
The cargo bay should be built to be mission diverse through the configuration of
motorized blocked pulley systems, paddock tie-downs and container lockdowns. Baseline
studies should be done for the fabrication of modular sleeping, kitchen, and restroom
units for personnel under transport, humanitarian relief efforts and ships at sea re-supply
efforts. Additional pre-fabricated units, such as clean room medical operating rooms
required for special purposes are available.
Because LTA technology does not require fuel to create and maintain lift under normal
circumstances, fuel can be conserved to create forward movement alone. Consequently
the ability to travel global distances un-refueled has been a long-standing reality of LTA
air vehicle. The weight of the load becomes less dependent upon fuel availability and
more dependent upon lift capacity provided by air vehicle buoyancy. Payload weight will
have minor trade off effects on distance and speed of the air vehicle. Thrust expended to
offset ballast during in-theater operations will however, impact fuel consumption.
Take Off/Landing Distance
It has always been MAS desire to have vertical take off and landing capabilities to
maximize the number of available landing zones to use this freight moving system.
However, we fully understand the additional costs and development time to make this a
reality. Therefore having a loading zone approximately 2000 feet by 2000 feet with
surface heights ranging no higher than 3 feet is within acceptable customer
HHLAV will need to be built to be extremely survivable. The envelope's internal low
pressure makes the effect of holes created by small arms fire less problematic. LTA air
vehicle have been known to remain aloft even with bullet holes in the envelope, yet
should the envelope be damaged beyond its ability to maintain altitude the air vehicle
will descend rather than plummet, allowing the flight crews to direct and choose the
landing area. Additionally, HHLAV's amphibious nature permits the pilot to choose
among many more available locations for emergency set-down.
Under conditions of neutral buoyancy, HHLAV air vehicle should be able to remain aloft
as long as the lift provided by the lifting gas is maintained. Given that the buoyancy
system does not have any problems, then the next mechanical system subject to
maintenance problems would be the engines. The pacing factor for most air vehicle, as
far as endurance is concerned, is fuel.
Payload Capacity (Weight)
An additional important system attribute priority in a customer's point-to-point
requirements is the weight the air vehicle can carry. Again, expected load size and
payload weight capacity depends upon the finished size of the air vehicle. HHLAV's
finished size; however, is a function of needs rather than design limitations.
In-flight Mission Adaptability
The loadmaster crew will be trained to control logistical organization of the payload.
Initial organization will account for total mission requirements and allow for re-
organization of priority items to be loaded or unloaded at each landing. Large cargo bay
doors and ramps located at the front, rear and both sides of the air vehicle reduce the
number and degree of internal moves required while in-flight. The power/systems
engineer will coordinate payload/ballast requirements with the senior loadmaster to
assure the Center of Gravity (CG) envelope is maintained while in-flight.
Life Cycle Cost Considerations
MAS also acknowledge that life cycle cost is a major consideration in procuring a large-
scale air vehicle, such as HHLAV. With that in mind, our design priorities will include
keeping the life cycle cost as low as possible as well as designing the air vehicle for ease
Sortie Generation Rates
In addition to weather and maintenance issues, sortie generation rates are dependent
upon many variables not considered here. However, as noted in paragraph Ability to
Operate in Adverse Weather, HHLAV's structure should be minimally affected by inclement
weather. Due to the robust nature of the HHLAV, regularly scheduled maintenance
rotations can be performed without additional protective infrastructure. Parts availability
will have an impact on sortie rates though no more so than that experienced by other
commercial air vehicle. Thus, HHLAV is expected to meet or exceed sortie generation rates
required by the customer. The time and material saved by eliminating delays and costs at
multiple transfer points will also serve to augment sortie generation rates.
Life Cycle Cost and Operational Considerations
The customer is interested in unique collaborative design methodologies, modeling and
simulation tools, process capabilities, concepts and innovative teaming arrangements,
which will reduce the costs of product development, manufacturing and operations and
support. MAS propose several innovative concepts that will enhance fiscal responsibility
and prudence in multiple areas of the HHLAV program.
The greatest desire of air cargo freight companies is the global point-to-point, or true
origin to true destination, delivery of large volume cargo at minimal cost. A robust
structure capable of withstanding hard use, adverse weather and unimproved landing
zone conditions is required in order to meet the customer's needs with regard to total
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Millennium Airship Inc/Skyfreighter Canada Ltd