Hybrid Air Vehicles, which teamed with Northrop on its design for the LEMV, is working on a set of three larger-capacity hybrid airships that can carry up to 200 tons and will be the biggest airborne carriers in the world, the smallest of which is larger than a 747. The HAV 606, is 607 feet long and has a helium envelope of 16 million cubic feet, twice the size of the Hindenburg. Hybrid Air plans to sell the ships, which take 24 months to build, for mining and oil exploration.
When fully loaded, the HAV is no longer lighter than air (the weight of the load is greater than helium's lift) and its airfoil design, wide and aerodynamic, becomes crucial for staying aloft.
Landing skirts, which allow the craft to touch down, are retractable and amphibious, so the LEMV can land on ground or water. The crew activates a vacuum anchor when the craft lands, which does away with the need for a mooring tower.
A payload container can carry the weight of up to 85 humvees.
[Image via BBC