40E Sky Dragon

Production of 40E Sky Dragon, the newest airship by Aeroscraft Corporation (Aeros), started in December 2014. The airship, which is under FAA-certification, is designed to support varied mission requirements at lower operating costs.

It is being constructed at the Aeros engineering and manufacturing facility located in Los Angeles, US, and provides support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

40E Sky Dragon can also be deployed for threat identification, anti-terrorism and smuggling interdiction, public event security, monitoring of facility and infrastructure, as well as rapid response coordination missions. Other applications include advertising, tourism and event broadcasting.

Design features

"The new fuel jettison provides additional levels of safety in an emergency."

The airship features a strong and lightweight envelope with a volume of 113Kft³ of helium. The envelope is constructed with a multilayer offering high strength-to-weight ratio and superior helium retention, as well as resistance against weather and weight reduction. These are based on the performance strengths of the 40D airship, which has been operational since 2007.

40E Sky Dragon includes a flexible and stable elevated sensor platform with slow-loiter and extended time-on-station capabilities, which provide government and commercial operators with round-the-clock imaging or monitoring capability. Its sensor platform also provides a 360° field-of-view, as well as HD downlink and remote camera operational capability.

The new fuel jettison provides additional levels of safety in an emergency and the enhanced landing gear is designed to offer high ground clearance for propellers.

Cockpit and cabin details



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A glass cockpit includes informational displays and ergonomics, as well as advanced avionics based on fly-by-wire technology.

The airship has a more spacious cabin than the 40D and seating arrangements for five personnel, including one crew and four passengers.

It is equipped with multi-payload mounting systems to accommodate a range of payloads according to requirements. It will also feature strategically placed larger windows to provide panoramic views for aerial tourism.

Engine and performance

"40E Sky Dragon includes a flexible and stable elevated sensor platform."

The airship is powered by two Lycoming aerobatic AE10-320-D engines driving four-cylinder vectored propulsion. The engines, featuring controllable pitch (CP), ensure the airship can land on shorter fields. They are also fitted with an electronic fuel injection system to offer improved fuel economy.

With a range of more than 275nmi, the Sky Dragon has a cruise speed of 35kt and can attain a maximum speed of 51kt. It can also hold a maximum fuel load of 70.5 US gallons.

The service ceiling is 10,000ft, whereas the cruise altitude varies between 1,000ft and 2,000ft. The airship can carry useful a payload of more than 1,000kg (2,200lb).

Defence Technology