Six months after contract award, elements of Northrop Grumman’s long-endurance multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV) hybrid airship are coming together.
The persistent-surveillance LEMV is designed to have an endurance when operating unmanned for 21 days at 20,000 ft. carrying a 2,500-lb. payload of sensors and communications equipment.
The critical design review was completed at the end of November, final assembly is to begin in February and first flight is planned for the end of July 2011.
“It’s a fast-moving train,” says Alan Metzger, LEMV program manager. Northrop won the $517 million U.S. Army demonstration contract in July. The first airship should be ready for deployment to Afghanistan at the end of 2011 for a military assessment.