MONTEBELLO ( — A new airship designed to carry massive cargo is almost ready for its first test flight.

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The 36,000-pound, blimp-like aircraft, made of aluminum and carbon fiber, is the first of its kind and built in the Southland. It took four years to create.

The Pentagon and NASA commissioned Worldwide Aeros Corp., based in Montebello, to build the airship on a $35-million contract. The aircraft company employees 100 people.

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“I’m sure people are going to be like, ‘Oh, there’s a UFO flying around,’” Worldwide Aeros engineer Tim Kenny said. This is the next step of aviation. We haven’t had anything like this for how many years now of advancement.”

It was designed to carry tons of cargo to areas with little to no infrastructure. The vessel would likely be used for military and humanitarian operations in developing countries.

“We can offload the cargo and come home, completely independent of any infrastructure,” Kenny said.

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The model being tested is a preliminary design before Worldwide Aeros goes on to build three bigger models. The first test flight is scheduled for some time in the next couple of months.