Boeing plans to build a solar powered UAV capable of 5 years sustained flight challenging conventional notions about what goes up…

excerpt:
"Boeing has won an $89 million government contract to build and fly an unmanned solar-powered plane that can--eventually--stay aloft continuously for up to five years. Yes, that's five years.

The defense contractor will develop the SolarEagle aircraft for the Vulture II program run by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA. Scheduled to get off the ground for its first demo flight in 2014, the plane will likely serve as an electronic sensor and military communications platform. But it could eventually turn into a less expensive alternative to communications and reconnaissance satellites."

Although, I understand the DIY Drones community is already working on something much cooler:

Views: 273


Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 17, 2010 at 1:19am
QinetiQ are well ahead of them with the Zephyr, there motto is, why land!

Developer
Comment by Pete Hollands on September 17, 2010 at 2:38am
Gary, I wonder whether the Qinetiq Zephyr programme is as well funded (89 Million dollars over 5 years).

Which brings us to the larger issue:- where is all the funding and R&D development for UAV's in the UK ?

Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 17, 2010 at 2:59am
That is the big question, your right. Don't look West just chuck a pebble across the channel. Plenty of money being poured into university and defence contractors. DARPA does seem to chuck lots of money at any idea that takes its fancy. I guess one or two work. Boeing also has to keep working, its recent lay offs made news but they let the Insitu guys stay where they were
Comment by Adrian Eves on September 17, 2010 at 6:15am
Don't worry chaps, Qinetiq are part of the Boeing consortium :)

Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 17, 2010 at 6:24am
Oh it has a chance of working then.

T3
Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on September 17, 2010 at 7:26am
http://www.ilot.edu.pl/index.php/archiwum-aktualnoci/360-phoenix
This year the idea of flying delicate aircraft in thin air is very popular.
At present I would classify the project as HAUL: High Altitude Unknown Endurance.

Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 17, 2010 at 7:47am
Its certainly a market where sensors are coming to it, in that they are getting lighter. So I wonder why they need to lift 1000lbs for 5 years at Boeing, that's a heck of an ask. I also wonder how many sensor packages would keep going for 5 years. I guess you throw it all away after 5 years as its out of date. You would not need many aircraft circling at 70,000' to cover one heck of an area.

T3
Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on September 17, 2010 at 8:33am
"need to lift 1000lbs for 5 years at Boeing"
Strategic nuclear deterrence platform. Codename Eternal Peacebringer.
Comment by Adrian Eves on September 19, 2010 at 12:58am
Frankly two weeks got a bit dull.......

Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 19, 2010 at 1:46am
Well you would'nt want to have flown it to Boeings 31 day first target and Farnborough 2014 would be a cracking time to make that happen for the one your making for them ;-) Whats with the funky Z's at the end of the wing, in this image. Are they a concept version of the Klingon design that you shamelessly nicked there?

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