TECH
19/02/2015 10:55 GMT | Updated 20/02/2015 03:59 GMT

The UK Now Owns The World's Largest Airship

This is the Airlander 10. It's the largest aircraft in the world and the UK now owns it.

Built by UK-based company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), Airlander 10 was originally made for the US military as a massive football pitch-sized surveillance platform. However due to budget cuts within the US government, the program was dropped and HAV decided to buy their pride and joy back.

Now -- according to The Verge -- HAV has secured a £3.4m UK government grant which should see the majestic craft take to the skies once more.

hybrid air vehicles

Why is the UK government investing in airships? Well the main reason is cost. Even an airship as big as this uses only a fraction of the running costs required to run a helicopter.

Add to that the fact that Airlander 10 can carry up to 20,000 pounds of cargo for up to five days without needing to be refuelled and you're left with arguably one of the world's most efficient transports.

As part of this investment HAV has reportedly gained staff while a number of government agencies will use Airlander 10 as a testbed for research into future transport technologies.

Around the size of a football pitch, Airlander 10 is made from Kevlar, mylar and carbon fibre while a series of internal modules means that it'll only lose around 10 per cent of its helium each year.