Interview with Gennady Verba

Gennady Verba, President of the Russian RosAeroSystems company, spoke to RT about the revival of airships and possible the ways of using them for civil purposes. Is the durable dirigble making a comeback?

Russia Today: You make an unusual product – dirigibles, or airships as they are called nowadays. In fact, this makes you think of the 1920s. What’s new about your systems?

Gennady Verba: Airships in the past were filled with dangerous and flammable gas. Modern ones are filled with helium, which is completely safe. Also, we use modern materials and approach to design. I can say that we are now witnessing the rebirth of airships. At the air show we display our latest model, the Au-30. It can monitor electrical lines or oil and gas pipelines, it can also be used for VIP tourism and of course advertising. I believe this is just the first step for our company, we intend to produce more cargo ships in the next three to five years.  

RT: What specific traits of your airship are you going to demonstrate?

G.V.: This airship will show its flying capabilities in various weather conditions, its vector control system, as well as state-of-the-art surveillance equipment placed on board by our partner, AeroScan.

RT: Do you expect more of your airships to fly over Russia by 2009?  

G.V.:Yes, I think so. Actually, every two years we demonstrate new models at the MAKS show. For instance in 2001, we displayed the Au-11 – a small one-seat airship, and in 2003 and 2005 its two-seat modifications. By the way, this airship is used to control traffic in Moscow.