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Airlander 10 developers to team up with BAE Systems

The company behind the Airlander said it had plans to work with BAE Systems to help build the aircraft for use in defence and security operations.

Bedford-based firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) said it had a "memorandum of understanding" with BAE.

HAV, which developed Airlander at Cardington airfield in Bedfordshire, is hoping to start manufacturing in Doncaster, South Yorkshire in 2026.

It said it would provide a cost-effective solution to reconnaissance.

Dave Holmes, managing director at BAE Systems' Falcon Works, said: "The changing character of conflict is driving new and novel approaches across the defence sector, including using new sources of synthetic and sustainable power, new materials and new processes that allow us to harness sustainable tech right from the outset."

Tom Grundy, chief executive of HAV, said Airlander 10 was "revolutionising aviation".

"This has provided new opportunities for the civil regional transport market and also represents a new path forward to deliver net-zero air power capabilities," he said.

The airship stays aloft using helium and electricity and is described as "an ultra-low emissions large aircraft".

The company had previously said that European-based Air Nostrum Group had reserved 10 Airlanders, but that number had increased to 20, for delivery by 2027.

The Airlander has been designed to be about 320ft (98m) long, with a cabin underneath, making it the world's longest aircraft.

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