and LONDONSeptember 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Straightline Aviation today signed a memorandum of understanding with RAD-AID to launch a humanitarian and philanthropic medical assistance program using Lockheed Martin's Hybrid Airship, uniting aircraft innovation with health technology for a new approach to global health outreach.

The RAD-AID Straightline Medical Airship Program will deliver advanced radiology health services, diagnostic medical imaging equipment, and medical assistance to populations that are medically underserved, remote, or limited by poor access to conventional transportation infrastructure.

According to the World Health Organization, half the world has little or no access to radiology (x-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI), which is essential in diagnosing cancer, trauma, infectious disease and heart disease and is vital for both surgery and obstetrics. The absence of these assets contributes significantly to worldwide health disparity and mortality.

Radiology equipment is heavy and delicate with advanced electronics and therefore difficult to safely transport to remote regions or to those suffering in the aftermath of natural disasters. The Lockheed hybrid airship is perfectly suited to this role, with heavy lift capability and vibration free, land-anywhere flight characteristics.    

This collaborative program will integrate Straightline Aviation's airship management and operations experience with RAD-AID's 5,200 medical professionals already providing advanced medical imaging technology assistance to over 20 developing countries.  Our hybrid airship health initiative will include other essential outreach programs, providing vaccinations, disaster-response, patient-education, screenings, and treatment for common diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis.

Launching in 2018/19, the initiative has already attracted support from international health organizations and medical equipment providers, with work on further funding from government programs, philanthropic donors and corporations already underway.  

"Lockheed Martin is proud to apply its advanced technology to support RAD-AID in its mission to bring much needed healthcare to the underserved.  Our hybrid airship is uniquely designed to provide service in the remotest of areas," said Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works®).

Mike Kendrick, CEO of Straightline said, "I have personal reasons for making this happen. My life has been saved recently by the early detection and treatment of two separate cancers. Most of the world's cancer victims do not have the benefit of these essential services, they just die! My life is no more valuable than theirs, and while these hybrids can do a lot of amazing things, there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing their capabilities applied to this kind of humanitarian use."

Dr. Daniel Mollura, Founder of RAD-AID International added, "The hybrid represents a new era for 21st century global health outreach, enabling medical personnel and advanced technologies to reach marginalized populations that are separated from conventional infrastructure. RAD-AID and SLA are optimal collaborators for integrating advanced medical intervention with aircraft innovation. Moving heavy delicate medical equipment for service delivery is a widespread challenge for global health, and this program offers a powerful solution."

Medical Hybrid Airship Images

RAD-AID International (501c3 nonprofit) has received awards and recognition from the World Health Organization, American College of Radiology, American Society of Radiologic Technologists, American Medical Association, Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, and the Clinton Global Initiative for innovative health solutions serving indigent populations.

Daniel J. Mollura, MD - CEO
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Straightline Aviation is headquartered in the United Kingdom with offices in the USA, and was founded by a team of former Virgin executives with unparalleled experience of airship and aviation operations.

Michael Kendrick - CEO
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Mark Dorey - COO
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SOURCE Straightline Aviation and RAD-AID

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