Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research





Key words

airships, humanitarian, peace, United Nations, LTA, lighter-than-air


This study examines whether the United Nations should take steps in the near future to exploit the operational characteristics of lighter-than-air (LTA) and hybrid aircraft in support of its peace and humanitarian operations. Continued progress in the development of LTA transport system makes this a timely issue. At the same time, this progress highlights persistent challenges to the conduct of reliable and safe LTA operations, particularly in the face of bad weather and threats from groups hostile to the UN mission. The report examines this issue in four sections: (1) the potential advantages of LTA operations; (2) their disadvantages; (3) current developments in available systems; and (4) their general application to peace and humanitarian operations. In conclusion, the study recommends that the United Nations and its Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) begin an active program to assess the progress of and develop contacts within the emerging LTA industry. Once a proven airship of modest size becomes available on a contract basis, the study suggests that the United Nations seek an opportunity to integrate it into pilot projects and selected humanitarian and peace operation. Eventually, if its initial projects are successful, the UNHAS should look to acquiring a small fleet of LTAs.

First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.