US: Prismatic’s PHASA-35 solar-powered High Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE UAV), which has the potential to fly for up to a year before needing maintenance, has moved closer to operation following a new agreement between two cutting-edge British companies, BAE Systems and Prismatic.
Engineers from Prismatic and BAE Systems will collaborate on the development of the new solar-powered High Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) UAV known as PHASA-35™, with work already underway to prepare the first aircraft to be ready for flight tests in 2019.
The technology would offer a year-round, low-cost persistent service for a wide range of needs including surveillance and vital communications to remote areas, using only the sun to power the aircraft during the day and recharge the batteries for overnight operation.
Solar HALE vehicles offer a significantly cheaper alternative to conventional satellite technology, with PHASA-35™ (standing for Persistent High Altitude Solar Aircraft), being a solar electric UAV that uses proven, long life battery technology and ultra-lightweight solar cells to potentially maintain flight for up to 12 months.
The PHASA-35™ concept has a 35-meter wingspan and weighs just 150kg – its lightweight, efficient build allows it to fly at high altitudes for long periods of time.
A Reynolds scale model (named PHASE-8) has completed a number of successful flights, with Prismatic Ltd and BAE Systems now looking to take the technology a step further.
“Prismatic is a fast-paced and forward-thinking company and PHASA-35™ is a great example of what the team can achieve in a short space of time. We were keen to invest in the programme as part of our long-term strategy to explore new technologies and solutions in air and space. I look forward to working with the team and I’m sure the collaboration will add further strength to both ourselves and Prismatic.”