Bedford-based HAV has announced ILC Dover will provide the hull for the production Airlander 10. The inflatable envelope forms the main structure of the semi-rigid dirgible.
A special manufacturing process is used to make the hull fabric, resulting in a strong but flexible material. Each of the hull’s layers provides a different property, Tedlar film on the outside to provide weather protection, Mylar film to keep the helium in and woven Vectran to provide the structural strength. The layers are sealed together using UV resistant urethane adhesive.
Work is also progressing on the airship’s propulsion system, and Collins Aerospace has started fabrication of the 500kW electric motor. Flight qualification testing of the motor is expected to occur in 2023, followed by hybrid-electric operation of Airlander 10 by 2025 and all-electric, zero-emission operation by 2030.
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