DARPA will attempt to power a UAV in flight using a laser

DARPA will attempt to power a UAV in flight using a laser August 4, 2018

DARPA’s Stand-off Ubiquitous Power/Energy Replenishment – Power Beaming Demo (SUPER PBD) program intends to demonstrate the feasibility of keeping an aircraft airborne for indefinite periods by charging the onboard batteries using a laser power source. To test the hypothesis, the research agency has selected the Silent Falcon UAS for the demonstration. Flight Global says the range between the laser and UAV is around 10 km but could be extended in future. Testing is scheduled to start in early 2019. The SUPER PBD system is designed to transfer energy by projecting a laser onto a solar panel covering the Silent Falcon’s tail. The Silent Falcon UAV has a 14ft wingspan and 7ft length. It weighs about 35lb and can carry a 3kg payload, such as a camera for surveillance. The aircraft has a ceiling of about 20,000ft, but for military surveillance missions typically operates between 1,600ft and 5,000ft.

Issue 79


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