Video of the week: SPIDER finds and fixes holes in hybrid airship

This week’s video comes from Lockheed Martin Skunk Works where hybrid air vehicles are being added to an aviation inventory that includes the SR-71 Blackbird and F-22 Raptor.


Hybrid Airships will give operators virtually unlimited access to isolated locations around the world and provide support to areas with little to no infrastructure.

Attention does, however, have to be given the hybrid airship’s skin, where holes can develop. To mitigate this problem, the aircraft is deflated and then inspected manually.

To streamline this process, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works has patented SPIDER (Self-Propelled Instrument for Damage Evaluation and Repair), in which two robots set about inspecting the outer skin of an inflated airship for holes, repairing them as and when they are found.