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MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Northrop Grumman Corp. said Monday it has won a $517 million contract from the U.S. Army to develop up to three hybrid airships for battlefield surveillance.

The airship, dubbed the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, or LEMV, is slightly longer than a football field. It is designed to remain airborne for up to three weeks at a time at an altitude of 20,000 feet.

The contract with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command-Army Forces Strategic Command calls for Northrop to design, develop and test the airship within 18 months and then deliver it to Afghanistan for an assessment by the military.

Northrop has teamed up with several companies, including British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd., to build the airship.

Shares of Northrop Grumman added 5 cents to close at $59.74.

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