| 15.2°C Dublin

Ultra-green giant airship unveiled

The world's biggest aircraft – part plane, part airship and part helicopter – has been unveiled in the UK in all its 300ft (91-metre) long glory.

Known as the HAV304, the giant aircraft has been displayed at Cardington in Bedfordshire in the only hangar big enough to accommodate the 113ft (34m) wide and 85ft (26m) high monster.

Created by Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd and first flown in the USA, the ultra-green HAV304 project has just received a £2.5m (€3m) grant from the British government.

Due to fly in the UK later this year, the HAV304 is designed to stay airborne for three weeks and can be used for a variety of functions including surveillance and delivering aid.


The plan is that the HAV304 will eventually lead to the development of the Airlander 50, which would be able to transport 50 tonnes of freight.

It effectively combines the best of aeroplane, airship and helicopter design.

HAV reckons there could be a world market for between 600 and 1,000 of its pioneering aircraft.

For the time being, the company plans to produce 10 a year for the next four or five years, which is expected to lead to the creation of 1,800 jobs.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The growing aerospace sector has the potential to generate thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds to the UK economy in contracts."