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SkyShip 5000
SkyShip 5000 / Sentinel 5000

The American Goverment had evaluated the role of the Airship and seen that it could be used as a multi role craft. Plans were made and an agreement made to construct the Sentinel 5000, a large military airship.

Statistics:
Length 423ft
Diameter 105ft
Height 150ft
Speed 70mph (est.)
Volume 250, 000cft

On 5th June 1987 Westinghouse/Airship Industries were awarded a 170 million dollar contract to design an Operational

 

Development Model (ODM) as part of the USN Airship Programme - Defence Advance Research Project Agency, winning it from Goodyear Aerospace.

Inital specifications were of course to change as with all plans, the contract being for the largest non rigid airship ever produced. An envelope of over 400ft long compared to the 193ft of the Skyship 600. The Volume being of a huge 2,500,000cft (half as much as the R100). The concept was to life a gondola of some 80 ft long comprising of 3 decks, crew accommodation, operations centre and a flight deck. The gondola was made of a modular construction comprising of 3 modules running fore to aft, foreward modules being the pressurised crew compartment, operationals and flight controles. A second module was adapted to carry the fuel and a winching system and the third to house the engines, accessible in flight for servicing. A crew of 15 was to run the ship, mostly to operate the surveillance equipment.

The design called for a ceiling of over 10,000ft and so the commange and crew module had to be pressurised. Ferranti Electronics were to design the flight deck avionics continuing the use of "fly by wire" controls as used in the Skyship 600. Fibre optics being used for the low radar signiture as the ship as a whole was to virtually be a "stealth" ship constructed of composite materials. The only thing which would betray the ship to other searchers would be it's own radar signature.

The ship was required to undertake astandard 3 day endurance cruise at 45 knots ( 55mph). The power units used were to be a pair of leightweight turbo charged 1800hp PPB diesel marine engined developed by CRM of Italy. For sprint speeds, the assistance of a single GET700 1700hp turbo prop engine was to be used to reach a 90 knott (117mph) .

Initially it was noted that the Sentinel 5000 to incorporate a E2-C Hawkeye radar suite, complete with an enlarged 40ft rotating antenna in the envelope of the ship. However this was still undecided as the project continued as to which radar was to be used. It was also agreed that the ship should have the capability of defending itself and should surface or air vessels fail to provide this, then it was proposed that the ship iteslf with air to air medium and short range missiles, and decoy mechanisms.

The idea was that the military version be produced first, then a commercial varient, the Skyship 5000 be constructed. The Skyship 5000 was planned to have a 140 seater twin deck gondola.

in 1998 A prototype full scale mock up was constructed, a gondola ring at Cardington followed by a fully scalemockup at Lakehurst NJ. The plans were that a ship would be flying within 4 years, by 1992. but with the problems of funding and delays in providing the finances, the ship was never put in to operation. These delays lead to Airship Industries falling in to receivership in September 1990.

The commercial viability of the Skyship/ Sentinel 5000 never proved as it was the only airship which was planned and almost produced to construction by Airship Industries, yet never flown. From the 10 years which Airship Industries flew their first ship, the company was nearly to the point of producing the first large scale airship which had been seen since the R101.

Shown below are the passenger varient, SkyShip 5000 artist impression and planned layout.

 

Related ships: SkyShip 500, SkyShip 600

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