A comparative study of conventional and tri-lobed stratospheric airships

M. Manikandan, R. S. Pant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The design and development of Stratospheric Airships for High-Altitude Long-Endurance missions (HALESAs) has generated interest worldwide. Conventional airships usually have a single-lobed axisymmetrical envelope shape. In contrast, several non-axisymmetric envelope configurations have been proposed for the HALESAs, such as flattened single lobed and multi lobed. This paper describes a methodology for carrying out a comparative analysis of a conventional HALESA and the multi-lobed HALESA designed for the same design mission. A sizing methodology which enables the estimation of its design parameters to meet some user-specified requirements has been developed for airships with envelopes of both these shapes. A Multidisciplinary Design Optimisation (MDO) approach has been followed in this methodology, which includes considerations from the disciplines of aerodynamics, energy, environment and structures. The study indicates that the envelope volume, solar array area and total mass of the single-lobed conventional airship are better than those of the tri-lobed HALESA. While the multi-lobed HALESA has the advantage of a flatter upper surface resulting in higher efficiency of the solar panels, the conventional airship has lower drag, which results in superior mission performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1466
Number of pages33
JournalAeronautical Journal
Issue number1290
Publication statusPublished - 08-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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