Case Study

2012 - Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV)

Blue Bear Systems Research (BBSR), were selected as a key member of the Northrop Grumman/Hybrid Air Vehicles team to develop a hybrid airship to assist allied forces in Afghanistan. The work came as part of an unprecedented US Department of Defence contract to develop a Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV).
The aim of the LEMV was to carry state-of-the-art sensors to gather intelligence and provide a persistent "eye-in-the-sky” over Afghanistan’s most dangerous territories. The aircraft, a ‘hybrid airship’, produces lift from buoyancy like an airship, and from forward flight like an aeroplane. This unique configuration enables intelligence gathering missions of up to 3 weeks at a height of 20,000ft. The LEMV was set for in-theatre operational trials within only 18 months.
The rapid development of such an unusual aircraft requires a novel approach to automatic flight control and systems integration. Blue Bear Systems were selected for the role based on a proven ability to innovate and rapidly provide effective solutions for demanding aerospace projects.

Blue Bear were contracted to get HAV’s sub-scale (10m) platform flying in automated control in the UK.  This involved performance analysis, trim and stability analysis, a CofG study, high-fidelity modelling and simulation and 6DOF simulation modelling. In addition to GNC requirements capture and design, Blue Bear provided a range of capabilities, including sub-system software emulation, hardware acceptance testing, flight control system emulation for failure analysis and, with a high-fidelity model in place, were able to de-risk Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) modes, pilot assisted modes, direct link control, and to develop algorithms to support station keeping and automated take-off and landing.

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