The UK's Lancashire Evening Post is reporting that BAE Systems' GA22 unmanned airship has made its first flight inside the hangar of the blimp's developer, Per Lindstrand's ballon company Lindstrand Technologies. The report includes video of the flight, which was conducted under remote control.
Photo: BAE Systems
According to Lindstrand's website, one radio-controlled GA22 carrying a classified surveillance payload was supplied to the Spanish ministry of defense in 2004 and is still flying. BAE is now working with the Swedish balloonist and adventurer to update the 22 metre-long helium airship and equip it with the company's automonous control systems.
BAE believes the autonomous GA22, which could carry a 150-kg. payload to altitudes above 6,500 ft., has the potential for civilian roles including communications relay and surveillance of major events and emergencies.