Hybrid Airships: Intratheater Operations Cost-Benefit Analysis
Graduate Research Paper
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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This paper examines the potential use of hybrid airships HA in an intratheater humanitarian assistance scenario. A linear programming model was used to study various mixes of hybrid airships, conventional airlifters, and sealift vessels. The main goal was minimizing the time needed to move 200 tons of cargo each day. The secondary aim was determining whether HA might be employed at less expense than conventional airlift or sealift assets. The analysis determined that HA can be used to effectively and efficiently augment USTRANSCOMs current airlift and sealift capability. For medium-range distances approximately 2,500 nautical miles one way, as many as five HA each capable of lifting 40 to 50 tons can help reduce or minimize total cargo movement time. Based on 2011 operating costs, if expenses for hybrid airships are held below 3,000 per hour, they can be cheaper to employ than C-17s. If small cargo totals i.e. 200 tons must be moved as quickly as possible or during sealift transit, then HA operating costs of 3,000 per hour or less also make them a less costly option compared to sealift. In comparison to C-5 and C-130 aircraft, HA break even hourly operating costs might be as high as 5,000.
- Lighter-than-air Aircraft
- Economics and Cost Analysis