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Hi-tech airships heralded as the future of transport in the region

By Olga Gertcyk and Derek Lambie
30 June 2015

Capable of carrying 200 people and tonnes of cargo, new blimp for the 21st century could soon be taking off.

The Defence Ministry has already said it plans to use the 130-metre-long Atlant, which mixes together technology from planes, helicopters, hovercraft and airships. Picture: Augur RosAeroSystems

A new generation of futuristic airships could be taking to the skies above Siberia and the Far East as part of transport and travel revolution in the regions.

The Defence Ministry has already said it plans to use the 130-metre-long Atlant, which mixes together technology from planes, helicopters, hovercraft and airships.

But with the promise of it being cheaper to build than aircraft and more economical to operate, it could become the workhorse of the transport network in rural areas.

Oil and gas operators in the Far East have expressed an interest in using the 21stcentury hybrid blimp to carry payloads and ferry personnel around.

The Atlant could replace planes and helicopters for day-to-day travel around remote Siberian regions, both for commuters and tourism, and there is speculation they could also be used to monitor natural disasters or help put out wildfires.

And in a further boost for the area, it is likely a special base for the airships will be built in Yakutia when they become operational from 2018.

Work is already underway to create the first prototype of the Atlant airship, which will be able to carry as many as 200 passengers or 60 tonnes of cargo.

Atlant old version


Atlant old version

Th company Augur already produces multifunctional airships in northern conditions. Picture: Augur RosAeroSystems

It will be able to fly at speeds of up to 170km per hour and, equipped with high-precision computers, it will be capable of taking off and landing without a runway.

The airship’s manufacturers, Augur RosAeroSystems, said the first phase of development work will be completed by December, with tests taking place on a prototype after that.

Mikhail Talesnikov, the vice-president of the firm, said the Atlant will be 'unique'.

'It uses different principles of flight,' he said. 'In short, it retains the advantages of airships but is cured of their primary problems. During the unloading of the weight at the point of arrival, for instance, the airship will be able to get heavier via controls without needing ballast. In that way it will not get weightless after unloading and will not soar into the stratosphere.

'We also came up with the decision to make the airship harder by using special balancing system (SAB). It also has a hard shell. Not a frame faced by cloth, but a composite body. It is an innovative solution and this system is unique, nowhere abroad do they have that.'

Atlant airship


Atlant airship

Oil and gas operators in the Far East have expressed an interest in using the 21stcentury hybrid blimp to carry payloads and ferry personnel around. Pictures: Augur RosAeroSystems

Computer-generated images show the Atlant’s design but very few details of how it will operate have been released. It has two small wings at the rear and a large viewing window at the front, presumably both for the flight crew and passengers.

It is being designed to withstand temperatures of -40C, meaning it is ideal for day-to-day operations in Siberia and the Far East even in the depths of winter.

Mr Talesnikov said that the Atlant is cheaper to fly than helicopters, with the added advantage that it can carry far more people and cargo. With the high cost of manoeuvring personnel and equipment around remote regions – for the likes of oil and gas works at Yamal and the Arctic, for instance – the airship would make a welcome addition.

Two years ago Vitaly Basygov, the speaker of the Yakut parliament, first spoke about the idea of using the Atlant across the Sakha Republic.

He said: 'We make extraordinary efforts to deliver goods and ensure the transfer of people, and our economy cannot withstand transportation with airplanes. I think it's time to look at the airships with fresh eyes.

Airship Atlant 30


Airship Atlant 100

Two different models will be created: the Atlant-100 (bottom), which will be 130 metres long and able to fly at 140kph, and the smaller 75-metre-long version, the Atlant-30 (top), which will be able to carry a 16 tonne payload at speeds of about 170kph. Pictures: Augur RosAeroSystems

'The opportunities of traditional local aviation, using the car and the river and rail transport are limited. Therefore, we must look for new ways to ensure the availability of transport across the territory of Yakutia. We can use airships to solve this difficult problem.

'Airships are highly resistant to weather and landing conditions, are easier to fly and land than airplanes and helicopters. There is also no need for airfields with long runways.

'All these features can compensate for the slow speed of airships.'

Two different models will be created: the Atlant-100, which will be 130 metres long and able to fly at 140kph, and the smaller 75-metre-long version, the Atlant-30, which will be able to carry a 16 tonne payload at speeds of about 170kph.

There is speculation the Russian military aims to use the blimp at border points, such as to control drug trafficking.

Comments (10)

As Helium is fast running out worldwide a fast use of it in airships may use it up rather faster, Will we find a way of producing a lighter than air gas instead?
david dunn, manningtree
10/07/2015 15:29
0
0
I am currently working on a degree in this field and am gonna be starting my thesis in the next 15 months. I have an idea that I am working on that could shoot this forward far past this use of helium as a lifting gas. Any clues how to contact the company manufacturing these?
REDD, Alpine Alaabama
01/10/2016 10:51
1
0
Sorry for the flippant angle...but just thinking Led Zeppelin!
Carmen, Ireland
20/09/2015 06:20
4
0
With so many fires it could be used to transport water like al hydroplane
Enrique, Spain
05/07/2015 09:25
2
0
God! For once I'm speechless...just like I'd be if I ever got into that "Helihoverairship". I might even end up sitting beside "Aliens"!

P.S. But may all who sail in it be safe.
Jaker, Dundalk
04/07/2015 08:48
7
0
Wow. Looks really futuristic!
G. Gansukh, Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA
03/07/2015 21:24
2
0
Jay, ask "Augur-Rosaerosystems" in Leningradsky avenue, 68, bld. 16. tel/fax (7-495) 989-7425. email: sales@rosaerosystems.com
Enrique, Spain
01/07/2015 18:46
6
0
Being cheaper, more enviroment friendly, more fuel efficient and able to carry 60 tonnes of cargo, it will be successful.
Enrique, Spain
01/07/2015 18:41
6
0
Its a lie there is no such thing in development.
Jay, Moscow
01/07/2015 14:01
2
8
Will it be Helium , or Hydrogen?. Hydrogen has more lift than Helium does, but Helium does NOT burn.

May 6, 1937 The German airship Hindenburg used (Hydrogen Gas) because (Helium) was NOT available to the Germany. America had the only source of Helium at the time, and did NOT trust the Germany, therefore would NOT sell any to them.
The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames while attempting to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
In about 30 seconds, the largest airship ever to fly was in flames, and completely burned up. The day of commercial airship travel was over for them.
Darwin, USA
01/07/2015 04:28
8
1
1

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