The request for proposals
for the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence (LEMV) airship demonstrator is out, calling for three weeks' endurance - unmanned - carrying a 2,500lb payload at 20,000ft. But plans to award the streamlined "other transactions authority" (OTA) contract to an ISR consortium formed for the program have changed.Concept: Lockheed Martin
Instead, US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (SMDC/ARSTRAT) is holding a competition and plans to award the OTA contract to the winning prime for the airship. Lockheed Martin plans to bid. Northrop Grumman also plans to bid, and is expected to team with one of the interested airship builders, which include the UK's Hybrid Air Vehicles, Aeros and others.
The OTA is for a five-year technology demonstration, with performance tests to begin in 18 months of contract award, expected in June, and testing and demonstration to be conducted in Afghanistan over the remaining term of the agreement. In theater, the LEMV will provide persistence surveillance with a variety of electro-optical, radar and sigint sensors, as well as comms relay.