Boeing [NYSE: BA] and
CargoLifter AG have signed a contract to jointly explore stratospheric airship concepts. The contract, which provides for a detailed study of lighter-than-air stratospheric platforms, will enable Boeing and CargoLifter to coordinate efforts to bid as airship system suppliers for current and future programs.
"This is an important new business opportunity for Boeing," said Charlie Guthrie, director of rapid prototyping and advanced concepts for the Boeing Unmanned Systems organization. "CargoLifter has the capability and expertise for lighter-than-air platform development, and we are excited to work with them. Several governments have research and development activities focused on stratospheric platforms to support communications and surveillance requirements. Airships may be a suitable platform for such applications."
Dr. Wolfgang Schneider, CargoLifter AG chief executive officer, said, "The new restructured CargoLifter is pleased to be able to use its extensive knowledge of lighter-than-air platform development to assist Boeing in establishing a lead position in the stratospheric airship market -- a market that is set to grow significantly over the next decade."
Boeing and CargoLifter currently are taking the first steps to put together their team. The contract follows a Letter of Intent signed by the two companies in May 2002.
CargoLifter AG, based south of Berlin in Germany, is developing lighter-than-air systems for logistics and other applications. Listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (WKN: 540 261, symbol CLA), CargoLifter AG has developed a unique capability to research, design, develop and produce airships and other lighter-than-air vehicles. The company's first product, the CL75 balloon-based system, has been in prototype flight test since October 2001. It will be capable of carrying an 86-short-ton-payload in either a crane configuration or as a towed vehicle. CargoLifter is also pursuing the CL160 airship, which is capable of carrying outsized and heavy goods over long distances. CargoLifter is cooperating with a number of partners and potential users to further define and develop both markets and products.
Boeing Unmanned Systems is part of the Boeing
Integrated Defense Systems or IDS organization. A unit of The Boeing Company, IDS is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $23 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.