Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Dorn, W., Baird, N., & Owen, R. (2018). Airships in U.N. Humanitarian and Peace Operations: Ready for Service?. Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research, 27(2). https://doi.org/10.15394/jaaer.2018.1744