Sunday, 22 October 2017

Solar-powered spy plane can remain aloft five years

Boeing is developing a solar-powered unmanned aircraft that will remain aloft for five years.

London, Sep 21 (IANS) Boeing is developing a solar-powered unmanned aircraft that will remain aloft for five years.

The SolarEagle is designed to soar in the upper atmosphere for years on end, feeding surveillance and intelligence information to the ground.

 

The US military has given Boeing a $89 million contract to develop a SolarEagle demonstrator vehicle which will make its first flight in 2014.

 

During testing, the SolarEagle demonstrator will remain in the upper atmosphere for 30 days, harvesting solar energy during the day that will be stored in fuel cells and used to provide power through the night, reports the Daily Mail.

 

The aircraft will have highly efficient electric motors and propellers and a 400-foot wing for increased solar power and aerodynamic performance.

 

'SolarEagle is a uniquely configured, large unmanned aircraft designed to eventually remain on station at stratospheric altitudes for at least five years,' said Pat O'Neil, Boeing Phantom Works program manager.

 

'That's a daunting task, but Boeing has a highly reliable solar-electric design that will meet the challenge in order to perform persistent communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from altitudes above 60,000 feet.'