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Aeros, Pentagon Test Variable-Buoyancy Ship In ‘Pelican’

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File photo of the Pelican. (credit: Aeros)

File photo of the Pelican. (credit: Aeros)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Pelican has landed.

Aeros has wrapped up the first of four tasks under a contract with the Pentagon’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office, which includes the Pelican, a 230-foot-long, 36,000-pound vehicle that can move without assistance from ground personnel.

Aeros CEO Igor Pasternak said in a press release that the prototype, which can be controlled from the cockpit and uses an air-bearing landing gear, hopes to add on the ability to have a vertical takeoff as well as an offloading payload without taking on ballast. To accomplish this, the Pentagon’s prototype would have to vary its buoyancy, which is expected to happen by the time the project reaches a fourth demo model. Pasternak says the buoyancy control system on the Pelican can have its “static heaviness” fluctuate by 3,000 to 4,000 pounds, which would allow for the vertical takeoff the Pentagon is hoping for with the machine.

Currently, the Pelican is being held and tested in Tustin, Calif.

Pasternak said that additional funding for testing the Pelican could eventually lead the prototype to be tested outside the hangar.

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