As Russia hosts 47 African leaders this airship project can lead to affordable cargo transportation.
As Russia hosts 47 African leaders, and President Vladimir Putin pledging that his country is ready to help Africa without conditions, affordable air cargo transportation is one of the areas that Africa could benefit from this renewed trade relationship with Russia.
Aerospace is a well-developed industry in Russia. In late 1980s, the Soviet Union accounted for 25% of the worldwide civilian and 40% of worldwide military aircraft production.
Aerosmena, an Airship-designing Initiative Design Bureau based in Moscow, Russia has the potential to revolutionize the way cargo is transported around the world and become a key complex system in the future of air cargo transport.
“Since our airship lifts large loads, we expect to create one that would be used to deliver shift crews to remote places for mining. .... in essence, it will be a flying house that solves both industrial and domestic problems.", says aircraft engineer Orpheus Kozlov, Aerosmena's general designer.
Headed by the experienced Russian aircraft designer Orfey Kozlov (he participated in major Russian aviation projects and development of airships), Aerosmena has been developing a family of aircraft with capacities of 60, 120, 240 and 600 tons.
According to Aerosmena, this futuristic airship does not take any special ground infrastructure (which is very expensive for operation). Plus low cost for the operational and manufacturing of the Aerosmena airships allows the market to use an affordable large fleet of innovative airplanes, suitable for transport and logistics.
For example, the cost of the 60-tonne payload airplane project (from development to certification) is about $ 120 million. For the much larger 200-ton version, the airship cost rises to just $ 150 million and reaches $ 400 million for the 600-ton giant airship.
By comparison, the Airbus Beluga XL aircraft program, with 50.5-tonne transport capacity, had a development and production cost of $ 1 billion, while the cost of the Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules transport program, 37 tons, is estimated at $ 1.4 billion.
Aerosmena airship is designed to perform various tasks: from passenger and freight transportation to the delivering of oversized cargo in assembled condition (for example, full mounted hydroelectric turbines, power line towers, drilling rigs, etc.).
For operational functional change, the airship operates by using interchangeable nacelles of various types (cargo platform, fire module, passenger compartment, mobile office, rigging crane, etc.).
Below are different functionalities of interchangeable cargo and special platforms in Aerosmena airship complex
Loading cargo directly to the platform; - on the external sling.
Passenger platform (all the possibilities for comfortable flights of passengers).
Medical platform (autonomous mobile hospital).
Tourist Flying Yach (mobile Lux hotel)
Expeditionary (options are determined by requirements specifications, confirmed by orderers).
Building and installation operations (the works with special mechanisms and units).
Firefighting platform to efficient suppressing fire and people rescue.
The platform for courier and postal services (the deck is equipped for the autonomous drones' operations).
The platform for monitoring and control of land and sea surfaces (patrolling, search for minerals, search or submarines, sunken ships, mine exploration, etc.).
The calculated economic efficiency of this futuristic Airship is profitable than normal transport aviation aircraft. For example, the cost of a ton-kilometer for airship Aerosmena-200 (carrying capacity of 200 tons) is estimated at $0.3 but it is $1.2 for 120 ton Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo aircraft.
According to engineeringnews, Africa accounts for only 1.7% of global air cargo, yet Africa has 15% of the world’s population. Importing Russian innovation in Aerospace would help African air cargo transportation achieve its full potential.