Airships for military logistics heavy lift: A performance assessment for Northern operation applications.

This assessment document from Defence Research and Development Canada which was requested by Canadian Operational Support Command (CANOSCOM) is a scientific analysis by the agency that reinforces our belief in the real need for airships to serve and monitor the Northern Region from a sovereignty perspective.


An airship is a self-propelled lighter-than-air aircraft with directional control surfaces. Unlike an airplane, the lift for an airship is generated aerostatically by the buoyancy of a lifting gas. Airships are being considered by the Canadian Forces (CF) as potential platforms to address deficiencies in logistics transportation to support Northern operations. Airships could provide a cost-effective point-to-point delivery capability and could mitigate several limitations (e.g., infrastructure requirements) associated with other forms of transport.

This paper presents an assessment of the airship capability for logistics heavy lift in support of CF Northern operations. Performance measures were developed to assess the effectiveness and the responsiveness of the airship lift. A Monte Carlo simulation framework was also developed to simulate various logistics lift scenarios. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to address the impact of different operational parameters on the airship lift effectiveness. The study indicates that airships could potentially improve the sustainability of CF Northern operations. Significant potential cost avoidance and response time reduction could be realized on sustainment lift by using airships versus fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Link to full report

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