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Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle

Jul 20, 2009

By John H. Cummings III, SMDC

Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle

What is it?

The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) is a state-of-the art hybrid airship that will provide persistent time-on station for additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to the theater commander. LEMV will add ISR capability to meet the growing needs of the combatant commanders. Combined with an array of payloads - including ground moving target indicator radar, Electro Optical/Infra-Red sensors, communications relay, blue force tracking, signal intelligence, and electronic counter measures - the LEMV will augment existing ISR platforms to provide additional capabilities.

LEMV design requirements include the capability to operate at 20,000 feet above mean sea level, a 2,000 mile radius of action, a 21-day on-station availability, consume 16 kilowatts of electrical power, reduced flight-hour costs compared to manned flights, be runway independent and the ability to carry several different sensors at the same time. LEMV will be a recoverable and reusable multi-mission platform.

What has the Army done?

The OSD ISR Task Force has selected the Army Space and Missile Defense Command/ Army Forces Strategic Command as the lead for this joint program. USASMDC/ARSTRAT is currently in the process of building a joint team to ensure the LEMV program benefits all services as well as numerous other U.S. government agencies. LEMV is working with the Unmanned Aircraft System program manager for the use of existing UAS architecture for ground control and to meet future needs.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army is slated to demonstrate the first LEMV in Afghanistan (18 months after contract award) with proposed plans to build five others following mission completion. The Army, as well as other services, is interested in the latest development of ISR payloads that can be flown on a hybrid airship platform of this type.

Why is this important to the Army?

The LEMV will offer payload flexibility and a persistent ISR capability that currently does not exist in theater today. LEMV will provide a possible solution to communications beyond the line-of-sight to the user, signals intelligence collection and almost any other type of payload configuration that meets the power, weight and size requirements. By providing this all-source sensor data to existing ground stations, the data is available to multiple users and analysts. This interoperability with existing tasking, processing exploitation and dissemination has the potential to improve information-poor situations, mitigating Warfighter gaps and existing shortfalls through multi-intelligence sensor integration. The LEMV will enable OSD to fly the most technologically advanced payloads in the near term as they become available.

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