World’s longest aircraft unveiled in U.K.
March 4, 2014, Bedfordshire, U.K. - The world's longest aircraft, HAV304, has been unveiled at a hangar in Cardington, Bedfordshire, U.K.
The 113ft-wide aircraft, known as HAV304, was originally developed for the U.S. military, and was later abandoned due to budget issues.
The aircraft is being developed by Hybrid Air Vehicles, with plans to build it for passenger and cargo purposes.
Designed to stay airborne for nearly three weeks, the ultra-green HAV304 can be used in a variety of applications, including surveillance and communications.
The aircraft combines the features of aeroplane, airship and helicopter designs and costs nearly $100 million.
Hybrid Air Vehicles has received a government funding of £2.5 million for the development of technology and engineering for the project.
"This government support shows that HAV has a credible way of solving one of the aerospace industry's key challenges; creating a viable low-carbon aircraft, which can travel for days and for thousands of miles without refuelling, landing without the need for airports."
The British company initially intends to produce annual target of 10 aircraft over the next four to five years, which will create an estimated 1,800 jobs in Bedfordshire.
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "As part of our long-term industrial strategy, we are jointly funding £2 billion of research and development into the next generation of quieter, more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly planes
"That includes backing projects like HAV's innovative low-carbon aircraft, which can keep us at the cutting-edge of new technology. Here is a British company that has the potential to lead the world in its field."
Hybrid Air Vehicles chief executive Stephen McGlennan said: "This government support shows that HAV has a credible way of solving one of the aerospace industry's key challenges; creating a viable low-carbon aircraft, which can travel for days and for thousands of miles without refuelling, landing without the need for airports. It is a great story of a British company leading the world."
The designers of HAV304 are also planning a bigger variant, which would have a capacity to transport 50t of freight.