ANCHORAGE: August 30, 2016. Remote site specialist Pacific Rim Logistics (PRL) has partnered with with UK-based Hybrid Airship owner and operator Straightline Aviation to operate hybrid airships in support of Alaska's oil and gas industry.
Priced at US$40 million with first deliveries due in 2019, the Lockheed Martin LMH-1 airship can carry up to 22 tons of containerized or bulk-loaded cargo and 18 passengers. Straightline is purchasing the aircraft through Lockheed reseller Hybrid Enterprises.
The UK company says the airship combines the technology of lighter-than-air aircraft with airplanes, helicopters and hovercraft. Helium provides 80 percent of the lift with the remainder from the shape of the aircraft and four thrust- vectoring engines.
The LMH-1 also features a unique hovercraft-like air cushion landing system that enables the aircraft to taxi like a traditional aircraft and then, with reverse thrust, grip the surface, securing the aircraft for safe loading and off-loading without the need for ropes.
"Lockheed Martin would be proud to have its Hybrid Airships operating in Alaska," commented Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works). "Alaska is an ideal location for the Hybrid Airship to operate. The airship enables access to Alaska's most isolated regions, and is designed to protect the sensitive ecological environment," he added.
PRL founder and CEO Ron Hyde said the partnership with Straightline would be game-changer: "It affordably opens up many projects currently inaccessible without the development of the costly infrastructure required by traditional modes of transportation."
Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senator from Alaska and former Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, said the combination of technology and innovation would enable access to resources and provide needed benefits to the state's infrastructure. "It is an example of a company operating to provide a transportation solution to meet Alaska's unique challenges," he declared.
Based in Anchorage, PRL provides project management for customers in the oil and gas, mining, defense, industrial, construction and environmental industries. Airship operations will be based at its regional center in Kenai – three hours away by road, 25 minutes by Alaska Airlines.