The US Navy is developing a pilotless solar-powered airplane that can fly for 90 days at a time, helping to monitor the naval vessels below and act as a transit platform.
Called “Skydweller” and developed by Skydweller Aero, the plane is based on a manned Solar Impulse 2 aircraft that flew around the world in 2015 and 2016, but stopped every five days. I had to.
The upgraded version eliminates the cockpit and allows space for hardware that enables autonomous capabilities.
Robert Miller, CEO of Skydweller Aero, told New Scientist:
The pilotless craft features 236-foot long wings that are blanked with solar cells, but the manufacturer may add hydrogen fuel cells for additional boost.
“We are currently following plans to test autonomous flight, autonomous takeoff, autonomous landing, and finally the first fully autonomous flight,” Miller added.
“Once all of this is proven, we will move on to long-term durability testing with the goal of 90 days or more of operation.”
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The US Navy is developing a pilotless solar-powered airplane that can fly 90 days at a time to monitor the naval vessels below and act as a transit platform.
The wings will be covered with 2,900 square feet of solar cells that supply 2 kilowatts of electricity, but the addition of hydrogen fuel cells will increase the reliability of the aircraft, Aviation Today reports.
Autonomous planes cruise at speeds of up to 100 knots, fly to a height of 45,931 feet above the surface of the water, and carry an 800-pound payload.
“What Skydweller can do is certainly a differentiated mission that no other aircraft can do, but at its core is what we do today, better, smarter, cheaper, and more effective,” Sky said. The co-founder of Dweller Aero John Parks told Aviation today.
“And it’s communication — an empty node for the military, first responder markets, and the telecommunications industry. Especially for the military, it’s more effective in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions from an aerial perspective. That is.
Skydweller also features 236-foot long wings blanked with solar cells, but the manufacturer may add hydrogen fuel cells for additional boost.
The upgraded version eliminates the cockpit and allows space for hardware that enables autonomous capabilities
The news of Skywalker’s development follows the announcement by the U.S. Air Force that it could soon replace the reaper, an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of remote or autonomous flight control.
Skydweller doesn’t include all of Reaper’s features, but Parkes says it could help reduce military spending.
“It’s a differentiator that you can fly thousands of miles, fly the area for 30-60 days, and fly back,” Parkes said.
“Looking at the overall cost of carrying out many of the national security missions we have, it’s a huge cost savings for the US government.”
Skywalker doesn’t have to take off or land multiple times like Reaper, eliminating the need for multiple aircraft to fly in one.
The wings will be covered with 2,900 square feet of solar cells that supply 2 kilowatts of electricity, but the addition of hydrogen fuel cells will increase the reliability of the aircraft.
Another military drone maker has unveiled an exciting concept of escorting pilot aircraft to the battlefield. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) last month unveiled the first concept image of an air-to-air combat drone with missiles.
“For us, if we fly for 90 days on one aircraft, it’s hundreds of times, compared to two takeoffs and landings,” Parkes said.
Another military drone maker, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) unveiled an exciting concept in July to escort pilot aircraft to the battlefield, much like Skywalkers assist naval aircraft.
GA-ASI, which provides drones and radar solutions to the U.S. military, unveiled the first concept image of a missile-equipped air-to-air combat drone last month.
GA-ASI states that when carried by bombers, combat drones can pave the way for piloted planes to carry out other missions without being attacked by enemy aircraft.
The image of the new concept takes a closer look at a manned aircraft in the distance and a stealth combat drone with a cockpit similar to a B-52 stealth bomber, but with no windows and a small size.
According to the drive, on the side of the rear fuselage is a arsenal with a prominent V-shaped tail and two doors.
The U.S. Navy is developing a pilotless solar-powered airplane that can fly for 90 consecutive days
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