Connect with us

Drone Below

China Tests Solar-Powered Drone That Flies for Months

Defense

China Tests Solar-Powered Drone That Flies for Months

The South China Morning Post has reported the launch of Morning Star a seemingly impossible drone weighing less than 20kg, developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) of China for military and civilian purposes.

Designed to remain in the air for months the solar-powered Morning Star has been successfully test-flown claims China. Announcing that the had a 20-metre (66-foot) wingspan apart from attaining and cruising at an altitude of more than 20,000 metres (66,000 feet) a statement from  declared “With the development and first flight, in addition to a great number of ground, wind tunnel and scale model tests … a solid foundation has been laid for follow-up development. We will move quickly towards large-scale, heavy load and long endurance solar-powered UAVs.”

AVIC also said that the development of new material led to the “impossibly superlight” weight of 18.9kg (42lbs) of the drone’s main wing structure. AVIC did not reveal very many details of the test; however it declared that the latest test of the aircraft, which can fly for months at a time, followed an earlier test in September involving a variant with a smaller wingspan of 10-metre.

The high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft could serve as an alternative to satellites and carry out military tasks including reconnaissance, navigation and telecommunications transport.

AVIC was probably thinking of giving competition to the present leading solar-powered UAV-the Airbus’ Zephyr, described by its manufacturer as a high-altitude pseudo satellite. In August, the 25-metre-wide (82-foot-wide) Zephyr S – which weighs 75kg (165lbs) – took the endurance flight record to nearly 26 days at an altitude of 21,300 metres (70,000 feet). It has gone into mass production with annual capacity of about 30 vehicles.

AVIC’s 20-metre demonstrator began production at the end of 2017 and was completed in July. Other than AVIC, several Chinese institutions such as China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation are also working on similar projects, aiming to create a telecommunication network based on UAVs.

The high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft could serve as an alternative to satellites and carry out military tasks including reconnaissance, navigation and telecommunications transport.

Comments

More in Defense

Back To Base (B2B)

Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement

The Latest on DJI

The Drone Wire

Advertisement
To Top