Aviation Capital Enterprises, Inc. of Canada has entered into an exclusive contractual agreement with Lockheed Martin to design, develop, build, flight test and Federal Aviation Administration certify a family of hybrid airship. Based on Lockheed Martin’s P-791, a fully functional manned flight demonstrator, the commercial 20 ton variant is called SkyTug.
Aviation Capital and its investors will make the hybrid aircraft available to the commercial market. Lockheed Martin will retain rights to the military market. Three variants of the hybrid aircraft ranging in size from 20 tons to several hundred tons will be developed to open transportation pathways to austere locations currently inaccessible to other modes of transport. Delivery of the first experimentally certified Hybrid Aircraft variant is expected in 2012. Although the company has not signed up any firm customers, discussions are ongoing with “strongly interested parties” in the Middle East, Brazil, Mexico and Canada.
Lockheed first flew the P-791 demonstrator five years ago, but lost a bid for a $517 million long endurance multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV) contract, which the US Army awarded to Northrop Grumman and Hybrid Air Vehicles in June 2011.
Hybrid aircraft are ideally suited for heavy lift cargo transport, domestic disaster relief and international humanitarian resupply. The aircraft requires little or no fixed ground infrastructure and can launch, land and be serviced on unimproved surfaces and water using its innovative air cushion landing system. It taxis, launches and recovers like a conventional aircraft.
About Aviation Capital Enterprises Inc.
Aviation Capital is a private Alberta company formed in October 2009, which, through its agreement with Lockheed Martin, holds exclusive world-wide, intellectual property rights to the design, development, manufacture and production of hybrid heavy lift aircraft.