JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., 17 Aug. 2012. The U.S. Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) was designed, built, and flown in 24 months--an accomplishment for a vehicle of this scale and complexity, and a bright spot in an environment of tight budgets and acquisition reform, says a representative from a team that consisted of U.S.
"This platform will establish a new standard for a long-endurance, persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability over the battlefield," predicts Alan Metzger, vice president and program manager of Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle and Airships for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
LEMV provides an "unblinking stare" over ground troops, from one day to multiple weeks. LEMV is built around Hybrid Air Vehicles’ HAV304 aircraft design and Northrop Grumman's open system architecture design, which provides a modular and flexible payload capability along with room for mission expansion and growth.
"Our air vehicle technology will allow the LEMV program to deliver ISR with unprecedented long endurance capability. The successful first flight of the vehicle demonstrates the readiness of hybrid air vehicle technology to serve military needs," said Gary Elliott, chief executive officer of Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited.
The LEMV, a first-of-its-kind airship, took to the sky in its historic, first flight at 6:49 p.m. Eastern time in Lakehurst, N.J., and flew for more than 90 minutes over Lakehurst Naval Air Station, recalls a representative. The flight test program for what is being called the world's largest, most-persistent, lighter-than-air, optionally piloted aircraft commences with the achievement of this milestone.
As the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman is responsible for overall system development and integration, development, and implementation of the open system architecture, unmanned flight control software, mission system flight and ground operations, and maintenance and field support for worldwide operations.