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Welcome the Airship MZ-3A to Scientific Development Squadron One (VXS-1)

September 28, 2019


– THE SKY ABOVE THE PATUXENT
RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION IS CONSTANTLY FILLED WITH
AIRCRAFT OF MANY SHAPES AND SIZES PERFORMING EVERY TASK
KNOWN TO NAVY AVIATION. PAX RIVER, MARYLAND, IS THE
HOME OF NRL’S SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENT SQUADRON, VXS-1. THROUGHOUT THE MANY YEARS,
NRL’S VXS-1 HAS OFFERED A UNIQUE ARRAY OF AIRCRAFT TO
SUPPORT THE MISSION OF RESEARCH AT NRL, NONE MORE
INTERESTING THAN ITS LATEST ACQUISITION, THE MZ3A AIRSHIP. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT
VXS-1 AND THE AIRSHIP, HERE’S COMMANDER JANKE. – MY NAME IS COMMANDER
CHRIS JANKE. I’M THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF SCIENTIFIC
DEVELOPMENT SQUADRON ONE. FOR SHORT, WE’RE VXS-1, BASED
HERE AT THE NAVAL AIR STATION IN PATUXENT RIVER. THE MISSION OF SCIENTIFIC
DEVELOPMENT SQUADRON ONE IS WE CONDUCT THE ONLY AIRBORNE
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH FOR THE NAVY. WE ARE THE SOLE PLATFORM THAT
CONDUCTS THIS AND WE WORK FOR THE NAVAL RESEARCH LABORATORY AND
THE OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH AS A WHOLE ENTERPRISE. WE ARE A NAVY WORKING CAPITAL
FUND ENTERPRISE, AND WE HAVE ALL SORTS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF
REGIMES THAT WE CAN FLY. THE MZ3 ALPHA NAVAL AIRSHIP IS
UNIQUE TO VXS-1 BECAUSE IT PRESENTS A TOTALLY
DIFFERENT FLYING REGIME. IT CAN BE A VERY PERSISTENT
PLATFORM, FLYING AT LOWER TO MEDIUM ALTITUDES, AROUND 5,000
TO 10,000 FEET, AND IT CAN STAY UP IN THE AIR FOR A LONG
PERIOD OF TIME AND DWELL OVER A SMALL PIECE OF GROUND AND
BECOME A COMM NODE OR HAVE CAMERAS ONBOARD OR RADARS AND
PRESENT A UNIQUE FLIGHT REGIME THAT WE DON’T HAVE RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE A HEAVY-
LIFT AIRCRAFT IN THE P-3, MEDIUM-LIFT IN THE
C-12 TO LIGHT. WE ALSO HAVE UAVs, BUT NOW
THIS PRESENTS A LONG-DWELL AIRSHIP THAT CAN STAY UP
FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, AND REALLY THE ONLY LIMITATION
IS THE PILOTS ONBOARD, HOW LONG THEY CAN FLY. – THE MZ3A GROUND CREW WORKS
TO WRANGLE THE NOSE OF THE BIG AIRSHIP TO ITS MOBILE MOORING
BOOM, WHERE IT WILL FREELY SHIFT IN THE WIND
THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT. – THE BLIMP ITSELF IS
APPROXIMATELY 170,000 CUBIC FEET IN VOLUME. IT’S ABOUT 150 FEET IN LENGTH. IT’S A SINGLE-PILOTED
AIRCRAFT, AND IT HAS THE AVIONICS OF A TYPICAL
COMMERCIAL SMALL AIRCRAFT. – LIGHTER-THAN-AIR AIRCRAFT
HAVE BEEN MISSING FROM THE NAVY FOR SOME TIME. – NRL AND NAVAIR HAVE TEAMED
TOGETHER TO GET THE AIRSHIP IN THE AIR FOR THE FIRST TIME THE
NAVY IS OPERATING AN AIRSHIP SINCE 1962. – THE ARRIVAL OF THE MZ3A
AIRSHIP CREATED A GREAT DEAL OF EXCITEMENT ON THIS COLD AND
WINDY NAVY DAY, BRINGING OUT AIR CREWS, CO-WORKERS, AND
THEIR FAMILIES. – WE’RE VERY ENTHUSIASTIC THAT
THERE’S A LOT OF BUSINESS OUT THERE THAT’S GONNA CONTINUE TO
EMPLOY THE MZ3 ALPHA IN A USEFUL MANNER TO ADVANCE SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY FOR THE WAR FIGHTER IN THE YEARS TO COME.

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