Russia is set to revive this age-old technology with the production of these heavily upgraded Airships. According to Russian President Putin himself, the new airships will have the best of technology from hovercrafts, previous airships and aircrafts too. The top-secret shuttle will be lighter than air, and it will be able to accommodate 200 people while flying at a sturdy speed of 105 Mph.
There are two versions currently under development by the Russians. The first one Atlant-100 is 130 meters long, and it is being designed to carry 60 tons of cargo at 140 Km/h. The next compact version Atlant-30 will be around 75 meters and carry 16 tons only, but its speed will be much faster at 170 Km/h.
The Russian military is currently very interested in the project and has spent more than 15 million dollars in its pursuit. The Atlant will be 30% cheaper than Mi-26, Russia’s heavy military transport chopper. It has a more stable flight, and it can carry more cargo and people than its rotary wing counterpart. Atlant will also be able to access remote locations that the chopper wouldn’t due to its airship appearance. It is being developed by leading Russian company Augur RosAeroSystems and its CEO Mikhail Talesnikov claims that the first one will be ready by December this year. He argues that although it looks more like an airship than anything else, it’s consistent flight problems and limitations have been overcome by his team. It is evident from the craft’s significant speed that it is not a normal airship at all.
The body of the Atlant have also seen a major upgrade and it has been made from composite material instead of cloth or similar fabrics. The new hide also makes the airship harder to destroy in mid-air and the new compact design of Atlant-30 will eliminate the perception of airships being sitting ducks. The flying beast can also operate at sub-freezing temperatures of remote Russian locations of Siberia where mercury drop to a jaw-dropping -40 degree Centigrade. So, all in all, a unique addition to the Russian arsenal of military transport. As for me, I hope these fast airships commercialize soon so that the public can benefit from them too.
Light that baby up with a laser and it will become a heavier than air aircraft in short order. I would LOVE to see a commercial version of this. Military application? Use small LTA aircraft for persistent drones as that’s about all they’re good for in the military/police role.