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Skyship 9000 / Sentinel 9000 proposal

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

The Australian Goverment had evaluated the role of the airship and in researching the records of the later Airship Industry concepts, a proposition was made for a maritime patrol and monitoring aircraft.

Plans have been found showing a larger ship with some interesting additional features which were not part of the standard Sentinel design concepts. Dispensing with the single non rigid envelope with two ballonets, the 9000 plans show a series of eight gas cells and five ballonets. From what we can tell, it follows some of the early concept designs for the Sentinel Series and the Skyship 5000, however seems that there are a number of key features which had been added such as a helicopter deck on the top of the hull.

The idea was in a respose for an Australian maritime patrol and monitoring the illegal immigration problem on the north coast of Australia.

Maritime patrol was a perfect option for the Skyship series as the airships are perfectly suited for long non stop aerial survellance running to a number of days, and could also engage with any boats, whislt relaying information to surface vessels.


Airship Industries design team planned configuration and layout

Sentinel Series Skyship brochure cover
Sentinel 9000 plan layout (click to enlarge)
Artistic impression of the possible civillian layout of the front cabin lounge and bar
Possible layout for passenger accommodation

Despite it being drawn up and proposed, questions arise as to some of capabilities.

Issues that can be seen:
  1. Helicopter deck on top, despite being something often portrayed in concept plans, this can be seen as a rain collector and a heavy structure up top, secure attachment to a possibly non rigid envelope.
  2. Main gondola seems to be rounded so this is the "high altitude" pressurised version which would have a weight penalty and be very heavy compared to a non pressurised standard cabin.
  3. Stealth shields designation, whether this was anti radar material to lower the overall radar signature of the vehicle
  4. Access to radar for maintenance and upper helicopter deck is not incorporated from the plan shown.

The plan document may be in response to an enquiry which had not been properly thought through. The later concepts and ideas may have been born of the desperate last days as Alan Bond's business empire, who were the major shareholder of Airship Industries in the late 1980's, was colapsing by 1990.

From what we are able to deduce, the plan looks as if the initial 9000 proposal based on the USN ODM did not meet the needs of the Australians and this may be an attempt to address those initial concerns by '"improving" its capability to meet additional specifications



Related ships: SkyShip 500, SkyShip 600

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