The AT10 was designed by Roger Munk to be used for training new airship pilots for the much larger HAV series and for other applications like advertising and security patrol work. Roger had more than 20 years of designing successful airships when he designed the AT 10 and the performance and handling characteristics of this amazing small economic airship, demonstrate just how far he had developed his skills as an airship designer since designing the first Skyship 500. The AT10 was first built and test flown by the Advanced Technologies Group with 100hp Diesel Air Engines some years ago, but the difficulties of trying to certify a new type of diesel engine to full public transport standards, were a big factor in the failure of that company. The new AT10 could use fully certified 155hp Centurion 2.0 or 170hp Austroair diesels, with a slightly larger envelope to give more lift and a small toilet in the very rear of the cabin. A new version could also use other certified diesels made in the USA if it was certified according to FAA regs. The AT10 may look like a simple blimp, but it most certainly does not fly like one, as it is very stable with incredible slow speed control response and very modern side stick controls. The diesel engines give this new airship an endurance of about 30 hours and a range of about 1000 nm. This means the new AT10 with a crew of 2 pilots (One captain and a trainee pilot) and 2 camera operators (The first version had 6 seats) with a modern FLIR camera system, can do a far better job at surveillance duties than a helicopter and it will use less than 10% of the fuel of a small twin engine helicopter. There is already great interest in the new AT10 from the US Coastguard and Navy, partly due to the increasing use of small submarines to smuggle drugs from Columbia and Mexico into the US. It is far too expensive to use large helicopters or surface vessels to detect or loiter around an area where a smugglers submarine has been spotted waiting for it to surface. The solution is a much cheaper to operate blimp, that has enough endurance to wait until the small U boats that are currently in use run out of air or battery power and surface. More information on narco subs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narco_submarine The reason why the new AT10 is going to be the main training airship for the bigger HAV series, is that it has both stability and control characteristics, that are as good as or better than the bigger hybrids. This allows the flight control and electronic engine throttle control system to have an optional small computer fitted to allow the small AT10 to simulate the control response and momentum of a much bigger airship or hybrid. A bow thruster will also be fitted to the new AT10, to both better simulate a bigger hybrid and to reduce the ground crew to a minimal level. The training course for the captains of the big hybrids, will be a CAA approved course done to a very high standard and the CAA will not allow this type of serious training to be done in any other type of airship, as they do not fly in the same way as a modern hybrid. The new AT10 is one incredible blimp to fly and you will see quite a number flying in different countries within the next few years and most will be busy doing pilot training for the new big hybrid air vehicles.
The AT12 design is a larger version of the AT10, with an envelope very similar to the Skyship 600 and a gondola similar to that of a Skyship 500, but this design could use 350hp Centurion diesels, electric bow thruster, X fins and a control system scaled up from the AT10. The AT12 design has a range of about 1500 nm and an endurance on one engine at 25kts of more than 3 days. The bigger gondola would allow for a dual camera and radar system with a 6 man crew and this design is very much suited to higher speed long range patrols where a longer border or larger area needs to be searched. The existing Skyship 600L is a good airship, but reconfiguring the tail fins and using powerful diesel engines would make it into a real star performer. Developing this design would involve minimal technical risk, as it is based on two good airship types and the very reliable and economic Centurion diesels.
SPECIAL NOTE: Some of the information above has yet to be fully confirmed by Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd, who are at present very busy with the early flight tests of the LEMV. This page is also still under construction.
THE US HAVE NEVER CAUGHT A REAL ONE AT SEA SO FAR.
NARCO SUBMARINE CAPTURED IN ECUADOR.
NARCO SUB HISTORY (From Wikepedia)
Narco-submarines were considered by officials to be an oddity until 2000, when Colombian police discovered a true steel 30-metre (98 ft) half-built submarine in a warehouse outside Bogota The double-hulled steel vessel could have traveled 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km), dived 330 feet (100 m) and carried 150-200 tons of cocaine. On 3 July 2010, it was reported that the Ecuadorian authorities seized a fully functional, completely submersible submarine in the jungles bordering Ecuador and Colombia. This diesel electric submarine had a cylindrical fiberglass and Kevlar hull 31 metres (102 ft) long, a 3 meter conning tower with periscope and air conditioning. The vessel had the capacity for about 10 metric tons of cargo, a crew of five or six people, the ability to fully submerge down to 65 feet (20 m), and capable of long-range underwater operation. Ecuadorean authorities seized the vessel before its maiden voyage. On 14 February 2011, another submarine was seized by the Colombian navy. The 31m-long (100 ft) fibreglass and Kevlar vessel was found hidden in a jungle area in Timbiqui, in south-western Colombia. It was capable of travelling 9 m (30 ft) below water and it could carry four people and up to eight tons of cargo.
NARCO TORPEDOES Semi-submersibles are hard to spot from patrol ships, but are easy to detect from the air. To address this problem, a new concept was adopted by smugglers. Instead of a full-featured self-propelled ship, a "torpedo"-style cargo container is used with a ballast tank (submersion control) to keep it at about 30 m (98 ft) under water while being towed by a regular fishing boat. If a patrol ship is spotted, the "torpedo" cargo container is released. While still submerged, it automatically releases one buoy concealed as a wooden log and equipped with a location transmitter system for a second support fishing vessel to retrieve it and continue the cocaine delivery. None of these boats do anything suspicious that could reveal their drug smuggling activity. The buoy contains a mechanism to temporarily raise and then lower its antenna and transmit its coordinates in encrypted form a few times per day. This system was adapted from existing buoys used on tunafishing nets. One of its designers claims a 90% shipment delivery success rate, and stated that the "torpedo"development was heading towards a remote control feature using encrypted signals transmitted via satellite.
BLIMP LASH SYSTEM TRIALS Recently, NAVAIR and the Office of Naval Research conducted a test near Manassas, VA, in which a Skyship 600 blimp, built by Global Skyship Industries Inc (Greenwich, CT), carried the LASH against a simulated terrorist camp, where camouflaged small shelters were successfully detected, though they were invisible to the naked eye. "LASH not only automatically detects a particular color, it also detects minor color variations in and under water, such as submarine hulls," explained Huettse.
POTENTIAL BLIMP BASES IN THE CARIBBEAN
The following islands have good secure international airports with enough room to operate AT12's. The numbers of blimps required to form an effective detection chain are listed in brackets. Training would be conducted at one of the 3 main bases and there are hangars available in Puerto Rico and Trinidad for annual maintenance. COZUMEL (2), SOUTH FLORIDA or KEYS (3) Main base, GREAT INAGUA (2), DOM REP (2), PUERTO RICO (2) Main base, GUADELOUPE (2), ST LUCIA (1), GRENADA (1), TRINIDAD (3) Main base, Bonaire(1) and Colon Panama(1). The blimps in Panama and Bonaire would refuel in Bonaire and Trinidad to allow surveillance of the entire Colombian and Venezuelan coastline. Although a total of 20 blimps would be required to form an effective detection chain, the total cost would only be about the same as one new high tech destroyer for the USN and because most of the ground crew can be recruited locally the operating cost would be lower.
US NAVY BLIMPS IN WW2
The United States was the only power to use airships during World War II, and the airships played a small but important role. The Navy used them for minesweeping, search and rescue, photographic reconnaissance, scouting, escorting convoys, and anti-submarine patrols. Airships accompanied many oceangoing ships, both military and civilian. Of the 89,000 ships escorted by airships during the war, not one was lost to enemy action. The Navy airships patrolled an area of over three million square miles (7.8 million square kilometers) over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Mediterranean Sea during the war. They could look down on the ocean surface and spot a rising submarine and radio its position to the convoy's surface ships. The Navy's blimps initially operated from bases on the east and west coasts of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and as far south as Brazil. Later in the war, they also operated from bases at Cuers, France, and Pisa, Italy. In 1944, six K-ships flew across the Atlantic Ocean to Morocco, where they established a low-altitude antisubmarine barrier across the Strait of Gibraltar. Only one airship was lost to enemy action. A surfaced German Uboat shot down the airship K-74 during a battle, but the K74 damaged the German submarine so badly that it could not submerge and was sunk by British bombers in the North Sea while it was en route to Germany for repairs.
ANTI SUBMARINE PATROLS WERE THE BEST ECONOMIC SOLUTION TO THE U BOAT THREAT IN WW2 AND THEY ARE BY FAR THE BEST ANSWER TO THE NEW NARCO SUB THREAT AT PRESENT. HELICOPTERS DON'T HAVE THE ENDURANCE OR RANGE, SURFACE SHIPS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE TO BUY AND RPV's CAN'T USE DUNKING GEAR TO TRACK A SUBMERGED SUB. ALL THREE ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE TO OPERATE THAN A BLIMP AND FAR LESS EFFECTIVE.