Lockheed Martin Corp. has received an order worth $480 million for up to 12 of its hybrid airships, which the company says can deliver cargo and personnel to virtually anywhere -- on water or land.

British company Straightline Aviation signed a letter of intent for the purchase and will work with Hybrid Enterprises, Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) Hybrid Airship reseller, to finalize the purchase agreement.

Lockheed said the Hybrid Airship, with its a unique, tri-lobe shape and air cushion landing system, can affordably transport cargo and passengers to and from the most remote locations. They require little or no fixed ground infrastructure and burn significantly less fuel compared with conventional aircraft, making them an environmentally friendly way to deliver cargo to remote places.

"Lockheed Martin's Hybrid Airship represents a revolution in remote cargo delivery," Hybrid Enterprises Chief Executive Rob Binns said in a statement. "Having an experienced team such as SLA recognize the Hybrid Airship's potential by signing the LOI solidifies the demand for this new mode of transportation. We are honored and excited to share this milestone with them."

Straightline, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York, was founded by a team of experienced airship and aviation executives who established the company specifically to act as an owner-operator of Hybrid Airships. Co-founder and CEO Mike Kendrick previously founded and ran the Virgin Group's extensive airship interests, including the Virgin Airship and Balloon Co.

"We are delighted to be first in line with this magnificent aircraft that is going to dramatically change the way cargo is moved around the world," said Kendrick. "The clear-cut economic and environmental advantages of these Hybrids are attracting vast amounts of attention from a wide-range of potential end users."


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