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The US Army has confirmed Northrop Grumman will develop the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) technology demonstrator, awarding the company a five-year, $517 million contract to build and fly the three-week-endurance hybrid airship. Lockheed Martin was the other finalist.Graphic: Northrop GrummanThe Northrop-led team is to complete development and testing within 18 months, after which the LEMV will be shipped "to the Middle East [read Afghanistan] for military assessment," says the Army. The contract includes two more airships.Northrop's team includes UK firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), custodian of the Airship Industries' heritage. HAV will be responsible for the HAV304 airship, which is to be assembled and flown at the former naval blimp base at Tillamook, Oregon. (Read Northrop's release here.)Operating unmanned, the LMEV is intended to stay on station at 20,000ft for 21 days and proving 16kW of power to a 2,500lb payload of video, radar and sigint sensors.
ar99, airship, Afghanistan
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