Hybrid Aircraft Will Help Silk Road
The LMH-1 hybrid aircraft [Photo: airforceworld.com]
By EJ Ward for sino.uk
The operators of Lockheed Martin's revolutionary new Hybrid aircraft, is specifically targeting the Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets.
The company, which already has offices in the UK and the US is now looking to expand its global presence with a base in the region.
The hybrid aircraft is being heralded as a game changing aviation milestone and is the result of hundreds of millions of US dollars of research and development being focused on reducing the costs of moving freight, particularly in remote locations.
The Hybrid aircraft combines technology from fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and hovercraft and does not need an airport to operate from. It can land on almost any unprepared surface including, water, ice or sand. The first aircraft will carry up to twenty tons of cargo with a range of 1400 miles, with 30% less fuel burn and 80% less carbon emissions than traditional heavy lift helicopters.
Straightline Aviation has already signed a US$850m memorandum of understanding to provide Canadian mining company, Quest Rare Minerals, with seven aircraft and having had significant expressions of interest from customers and investors in the Asia-Pacific region, believes that the Chinese market is ideally suited for the deployment of the Hybrid for similar applications.
The company has appointed Francis Chiew as Managing Director - Asia-Pacific to spearhead development. Francis has extensive experience working across the region and was instrumental in bringing airship operations into China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Australia and Japan during his time with Virgin Lightships. He joins a team of other senior former Virgin executives including founding directors Mike Kendrick, Mark Dorey and David Tait who have unparalleled experience in growing and developing global aviation businesses.
The Chairman of Straightline, Brian Kessler, who has over thirty years of experience working in China, stated, "This new aircraft is ideally suited for operations in China and will revolutionise the way we handle freight. China is a vast country not only comprising large hubs and congested commercial centres but also many remote locations. The Lockheed Hybrid can service main business centres but can also, economically and effectively, move freight to more remote areas, without the need for expensive infrastructure like roads and airports." The Lockheed Hybrid is uniquely suited for China's 'Silk Road' initiatives where roads and airports are not available. He added, "I have enjoyed my experience in China, working with innovative and technology led companies and I am sure that the area will embrace the advantages that this new aircraft offers."