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Analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of the introduction of airships for cargo delivery

July 2020

Analytical Report (full version)

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Analytical Report (full version)

Analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of the introduction of airships for cargo delivery
Analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of the introduction of airships for cargo delivery
July 2020

Analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of the introduction of airships for cargo delivery

July 2020

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A new study by J'son & Partners Consulting is aimed at analyzing a number of promising developments of cargo airships (dirigibles), which have not yet been implemented in the world. However, cargo delivery in remote areas (oil & gas fields in the Arctic, taiga, or any areas with undeveloped roads) is one of the most promising directions of the world airship industry development.

 

Why Airship?

 

At the time of writing this report, there were no real prototypes in the world, especially the mass production of cargo airships. The analysis of the existing airship models for all purposes revealed that modern airships have the following characteristics:

 

- They have soft gondolas

 

- A light inert gas is used for lifting

 

- They can be for passengers or special

 

- They are all manned

 

- A diesel or gas turbine engine is used. Electric motors are under development

 

At the end of 2017, there were 50 active airships in the world. They were engaged in transporting tourists and performing auxiliary tasks (monitoring, surveillance, aerial photography). According to the Russian Ministry of industry and trade, the world's demand for airships is growing by 10-12% annually. So at the end of 2019, the total number of such aircraft can be estimated at 60-62 units.

 

According to aviation experts, the future of airships is cargo transportation. At the same time, the Ministry of industry and trade estimates Russia's need for airships with a cargo capacity from 5 to 200 tons at 250 units by 2025. According to the Ministry's plan, airships are supposed to be used in order to develop a number of hard-to-reach and promising territories. Russian developers estimate that first prototypes of transport airships may appear in 4-5 years after receiving firm orders and serial manufacturing may begin in 7-8 years. For aviation, this is a short project implementation period.

 

Key advantages of airships:

 

- The ability to achieve almost any significant range and duration of the flight.

 

- The potential for the transportation of large cargo items using the "door-to-door" technology.

 

- The ability to deliver passengers and cargo to unequipped platforms.

 

Key disadvantages compared to traditional aviation:

 

- There are no existing mass-produced cargo airships, as well as a system for training airship pilots.

 

- Lifting gases (hydrogen and helium) are characterized by high permeability, which leads to the loss of part of the lifting gas from the gas cavities of the airship over time.

 

- A large surface during year-round and all-weather operation becomes a place of ice formation, which makes it impossible to operate.

 

- Relatively low altitudes of airships reduce the effectiveness of their use when flying over mountainous terrain.

 

- When transporting heavy cargos, it is necessary to solve the airship ballasting problem.

 

- Widespread use of transport airships requires the creation of its own ground infrastructure (airship ports).

 

- The complexity and relatively high cost of their ground maintenance due to the need to build boathouses, mooring towers, gas facilities, as well as the need to alienate significant land areas for the location and temporary parking of airships.

 

- Low maneuverability.

 

- The difficulty of piloting when landing.

 

1_Сlassification of airships

 

Airship manufacturing development in the world/Russia and readiness for implementation

 

While preparing the report, J'son & Partners Consulting conducted an analysis of developers around the world (that manufacture or claim to be able to manufacture airships). However, not all of them actually manufacture, certify, get airworthiness, and operate airships.

 

Again, the above disadvantages explain why there is no mass manufacturing of cargo airships anywhere in the world today - after the 1940s they have never been used for commercial transportation of goods. The use of outdated manufacturing approaches (rigid frames, hydrogen as a lifting gas, weak and uneconomical engines, etc.) cannot give the required economic effect. Only the introduction of new technologies (hybrid and combined circuits, modular designs, hybrid or fully electric engines, etc.) will allow us to create promising (i.e. competitive for 20-30 years) transport systems that operate airships.

 

Thus, when designing cargo airships, it should be about systems that will use a set of high-tech areas (materials science, specific conditions, and equipment for the production and operation of airships, the development of flight automation systems). Because of the novelty of the entire industry, the problem of operating airships must be solved comprehensively in the light of experience.

 

Below you can see general estimates of the development level of airship technologies and their operation in the world and Russia. The Russian models are made in accordance with the methodology described in GOST R 58048-2017 "Technology transfer. Guidelines for assessing the level of technology maturity". The maturity of a particular technology is determined during a technology readiness assessment using a special technology readiness scale from 1 ("The basic principles of the technology have been studied and published") to 9 ("The actual system has been confirmed through successful operation").

 

2_Assessment of the readiness level of cargo airship manufacturing and operation technologies in the world and Russia

 

Prospects for the development of airship manufacturing in Russia and the world

 

The current state of aviation science and industrial technologies in Russia and the world indicates the technical feasibility of creating the entire necessary line of transport airships with the required load capacity in order to solve cargo delivery problems.

 

The vast expanses of the Russian North, Siberia, and the Far East require intensive and cheap transport links, but the poor development of these territories and the harsh natural environment makes it impossible or extremely unprofitable to use conventional modes of transport. However, in conditions where traditional transport ceases to cope with the tasks assigned to it or requires ultra-high costs for the development and maintenance of complex infrastructure, the use of cargo airships can dramatically reduce transport costs and improve the connectivity of these territories.

 

A number of projects aimed at manufacturing large-capacity airships already exist in some parts of the world. They have various degrees of readiness and the best results are shown by design bureaus that either has state orders (for the production of military equipment, which was then re-designed for civilian needs) or have received stable funding from investors.

 

Two Russian companies (RosAeroSystems Holding with its ATLANT cargo airship line initiative project and JSC Dolgoprudnenskoe Automation Design Bureau with its Aerosmena initiative project) are among the world leaders in terms of the development of advanced projects and prototypes of airships, along with such countries as USA (Lockheed Martin with the LMH-1 airship; Aeroscraft with the ML 86X cargo airship initiative project), Germany (Zeppelin), Great Britain (Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) with the Airlander 10 airship), France (Flying Whales with the LCA60T project) and China (Vantage Airship).

 

In addition to the undeniable advantage of airships to solve transport problems in the absence of infrastructure required for the use of other modes of transport (air, road, water), airships potentially have better fuel and economic efficiency characteristics compared to traditional air transport.

 

The calculation results show that the use of airships is economically feasible in comparison with other aircrafts, especially if it is impossible to use traditional cargo delivery methods (rail and maritime transport). In terms of fuel efficiency and cost per flight hour and ton-km, airships of medium and heavy capacity outperform airplanes and helicopters. This advantage is especially significant for long-range flights and heavy delivery.  

 

Analysis of transport flows of customers by industry, operating in regions with a poorly developed network of land communications, revealed the main types of large and heavy cargos, as well as characteristics of transport flows. Basing on this, J'son & Partners Consulting analysts have formulated a potential demand for the use of airships in the Russian transport system by industry.

 

____________________

 

This information note was prepared by the J'son & Partners Consulting. We work hard to provide factual and prognostic data that fully reflect the situation and available at the time of release. J'son & Partners Consulting reserves the right to revise the data after publication of new official information by individual players. 

 

Copyright © 2020, J'son & Partners Consulting. The media can use the text, graphics, and data contained in this market review only using a link to the source of information - J'son & Partners Consulting or with an active link to the JSON.TV portal

 

™ J'son & Partners [registered trademark] 

 

Detailed results of the study are presented in the full version of the report:

 

“Analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of the introduction of airships for cargo delivery”

 

1. ANALYSIS OF INPUT DATA REQUIRED FOR PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION.

2. INTRODUCTION.

2.1. PROBLEM STATEMENT.

2.2. DESCRIPTION OF THE METHOD USED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

2.3. SOURCES.

3. CLASSIFICATION OF AIRSHIPS.

3.1. TYPES OF AIRSHIPS AND THEIR OPERATION PRINCIPLE DESCRIPTION.

3.2. TYPES OF AIRSHIP CONTROL.

3.3. QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR FLIGHT AND GROUND PERSONNEL.

3.3.1. Qualification requirements for airship pilots.

3.3.2. Qualification requirements for airship maintenance and repair specialists.

3.4. DESCRIPTION OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIRED FOR EACH TYPE OF AIRSHIP.

3.4.1. Airship complex stationary base.

3.4.2. Non-rigid airship ground support complex.

3.4.3. Hybrid airship ground support complex.

3.5. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF AIRSHIPS.

3.6. ANALYSIS OF REGULATORY RESTRICTIONS AND BARRIERS TO THE INTRODUCTION OF VARIOUS TYPES OF AIRSHIPS AND SEARCH FOR OPTIONS TO OVERCOME THEM.

3.6.1. Use of air space.

3.6.2. Safety requirements for aircrafts carrying passengers and goods 

3.6.3. Certification of transport airships and their development procedure.

3.6.4. Organization of training for flight crews and ground technical personnel.

4. ANALYTICAL REVIEW OF AIRSHIP MANUFACTURERS AND DEVELOPERS.  ASSESSMENT OF THE TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION READINESS. RESEARCH OF AIRSHIP FUNCTIONAL CAPABILITIES. IDENTIFICATION OF ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF USING AIRSHIP TECHNOLOGY.

4.1. RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

4.2. UNITED STATES AND CANADA.

4.3. EUROPEAN UNION.

4.3.1. Germany.

4.3.2. UK.

4.3.3. France.

4.3.4. Other EU countries.

4.4. ASIAN COUNTRIES.

4.4.1. PRC.

4.4.2. Japan.

4.4.3. South Korea.

4.4.4. Other Asian countries.

4.5. AUSTRALIA.

4.6. OTHER COUNTRIES.

5. CONCLUSIONS.

5.1. CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE AIRSHIP MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT IN THE WORLD/RUSSIA AND THE TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION READINESS.

5.2. CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE PROSPECTS OF AIRSHIP MANUFACTURING IN THE WORLD/RUSSIA.

5.3. CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF USING AIRSHIPS FOR CARGO TRANSPORTATION.

5.4. CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE REGULATORY RESTRICTIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE BARRIERS TO THE INTRODUCTION OF AIRSHIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO OVERCOME THEM.

5.5. CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE INTRODUCTION OF AIRSHIPS ON THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY.

5.6. CALCULATION OF COSTS FOR THE CREATION AND OPERATION OF TRANSPORT AIRSHIPS OF HIGH CAPACITY

 

List of figures

Fig. 1 The Hindenburg airship disaster

Fig. 2 General diagram of a non-rigid airship

Fig. 3 Cockpit and control panels of an airship 1 by Company 1

Fig. 4 Airship takeoff and landing

Fig. 5 Rotation of an airship in the air (top view)

Fig. 6 Example of a mobile mooring mast

Fig. 7 Example of a mobile mooring mast

Fig. 8 Airship boathouse by Company 2

Fig. 9 Example of an airship complex stationary base

Fig. 10 Non-rigid airship 2 launch complex 

Fig. 11 Non-rigid airship 2 boathouse

Fig. 12 Comparative characteristics of aircrafts

Fig. 13 Estimation of the duration of the stages of cargo airship creation and certification

Fig. 14 Airship 3

Fig. 15 Airship 3

Fig. 16 Schema of an airship 3

Fig. 17 Project of a transport airship 4

Fig. 18 Schema of an airship 4

Fig. 19 Project of a transport airship 5

Fig. 20 Schema of a promising transport airship 5

Fig. 21 Project of a transport lens-shaped non-rigid airship 6.

Fig. 22 Airship 7

Fig. 23 Airship 8 in flight

Fig. 24 Airship 8 on the ground

Fig. 25 Airship 9

Fig. 26 Schema of an airship 9

Fig. 27 Prototype of an airship 9

Fig. 28 Airship 10

Fig. 29 Airship 11

Fig. 30 Airship 12

Fig. 31 Airship 12

Fig. 32 Airship 13

Fig. 33 Airship 14

Fig. 34 Project of an airship 15

Fig. 35 Airship 16

Fig. 36 Airship 17

Fig. 37 Airship 18

Fig. 38 Airship 19

Fig. 39 Conceptual view of an airship 20

Fig. 40 Airship 21

 

List of tables

Table 1. Classification of civil aviation pilots

Table 2. Classification of line pilots

Table 3. Airship crew qualification requirements

Table 4. Classification of aircraft maintenance and repair specialists

Table 5. List of laws and regulations regarding aviation

Table 6. List of airship design, construction and operation companies in the world

Table 7. Characteristics of an airship 1

Table 8. Characteristics of an airship 2

Table 9. Planned characteristics of an airship 3

Table 10. Planned characteristics of an airship 4

Table 11. planned characteristics of an airship 5

Table 12. Planned characteristics of an airship 6

Table 13. Characteristics of an airship 7

Table 14. Characteristics of an airship 8

Table 15. Characteristics of an airship 9

Table 16. Characteristics of an airship 10

Table 17. Characteristics of an airship 11

Table 18. Design characteristics of airships 12 and 13

Table 19. Characteristics of ready and projected airships of family X 

Table 20. Planned characteristics of the airship 14

Table 21. Characteristics of ready and projected airships of family Y 

Table 22. Characteristics of ready and projected airships of family Z

Table 23. Characteristics of an airship 14

Table 24. Characteristics of ready and projected airships of family GD 

Table 25. Assessment of the readiness level of cargo airship technologies and their operation in the world and Russia

Table 26. Large capacity transport airship operation problems and ways of their solution

Table 27. Characteristics of potential demand for airships

Table 28. Technical and economic characteristics of transport airship projects with a carrying capacity of 25, 60 and 200 tons in comparison with transport helicopters and airplanes

Table 29. Cost calculation of R&D and certification stages when developing cargo airships

Table 30. Cost calculation of the first production sample of a cargo airship

Table 31. Cost calculation of annual operation of a line of heavy-duty transport airships

Table 32. Airship port construction cost estimating