9000 / Sentinel 9000 proposal
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.
Industries design team planned configuration and layout
Skyship brochure cover
plan layout (click to enlarge)
of the possible civillian layout of the front cabin lounge
for passenger accommodation
Despite it being drawn up
and proposed, questions arise as to some of capabilities.
Issues that can be seen:
- 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
- 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
- Stealth shields designation, whether this was anti radar material
to lower the overall radar signature of the vehicle
- 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