Canada's Solar Ship ties up with Manaf Freighters for African launch
Oct 12, 2016: Canadian company Solar Ship has launched a joint venture with an African air cargo delivery service that will see the first deployment of its promising new solar-powered hybrid aircraft. The solarships are part plane and part blimp, employing a helium-filled wing-shaped body that allows for extremely short takeoffs and landings in open areas such as soccer fields, making it possible for them to deliver supplies in remote areas. As part of its joint venture with Solar Ship, Manaf Freighters, located in Burundi, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has agreed to purchase four solarships, including two short take-off and landing Caracal aircraft and two Wolverine aircraft to be used for cargo delivery and disaster relief in remote areas in East and Central Africa. The two Wolverine aircraft can carry a 20-foot shipping container with a minimum payload of five tonnes. Solar Ship said its joint venture with Manaf, Peace & Freedom Services, connects people in the Great Lakes Africa region with global logistics and provides critical cargo: food, clothing, medical supplies and basic necessities. Part of Manaf’s investment in the joint venture includes two DC3 aircraft that offer long range service to connect South Africa with disconnected areas in East and Central Africa.