The 20th century started with the conquest of the atmosphere by aeroplanes and terminated with the conquest of the earth and moon orbits. The 21st century could see the conquest of air cargo transportation by airships in the new economic paradigm of globalisation, provided that an airship trial is set up for proof of feasibility. Needs: Intensification of goods exchanges in globalisation requires that :
- payloads be heavier, larger, indivisible, pre-mounted;
- delivery be any time, any weather, any place, on any surface, door to door, infrastructure-free;
- the carrier be 'mission versatile' and if active in airspace, able to move /hover , lift/download , be ecologic and autonomous.
Scope of the work is to test a transport solution for cumbersome loads and challenge airship technologies to satisfy it and the above needs. The objectives open a sustained dialogue with industrialists and freighters to review their potential missions for both aerospace and other industry logistics within view to introduce to them promising cargo airship technologies, based on data of a real-scale transport trial, benchmark and mapping.
Promote and convince the European-Russian airship community to converge their know-how into practical solutions for the set missions Expectations are to use this trial as a springboard for airship R&D to promote its industrialisation to interact with other logistics, insert its services into multi-modal transport chain, complementing aeronautic and surface services.
Economics: Beneficiaries would be the agents of the EU 5 000 daily heavy cumbersome load trips, and countless industrial sectors, at low environmental cost and low pricing Smes: A balanced blend of 2 innovation-driven Smes, large company, specialised universities should thrust airship technology into concrete development. Smes will be a key role in this.
Different activities are envisaged to reach the targets:
- Encouraging participation of logisticians in the project and inventory their needs and handling methods in special transportation;
- Developing an European airship financing plan and a future innovative airship technologies roadmap;
- Facilitating an industrial and R&D consortium for larger prototypes and beyond;
- Establishing an international training centre to learn to pilot airships;
- Initiating a co-operation on the airship theme between different aerospace or technology university colleges.
The results of the projects are:
- A generous and plentiful literature relating to past and future transportation airships and applications, available on the Veatal website - www.veatal.com/en/
- A large positive consensus of professionals confirming the need of such transportation vehicle.
- A demonstration of the profitability of such operational vehicle under certain conditions of technology versatility and economic targets.
- The set up of an international team of experts to bring about this type of project from R&D to an industrial phase.