The Military Army Blog

Airbus builds drones that fly 90 days non-stop for UK military

The Zephyr already holds the record for the longest unmanned flight[3], staying aloft for 14 days in tests at a secret location in the Southern hemisphere.

It is understood that the drones now under construction will have a wingspan of about 80ft and be able to carry payloads of about 10kg, with the next model already in development by Airbus and expected to be about 35ft larger and able to carry twice as much. The company says it is already working on even bigger versions of the aircraft.

We have had interest in Zephyr for civilian uses, such as monitoring agriculture, including vineyards.

Airbus said the system could provide non-stop surveillance of targets because it is able to operate two of the drones together, meaning that one can hand over to another with the aircraft being able to talk to each other, creating seamless coverage. The twin-engine drone which operates at twice the height that passenger jets fly – being produced now is able to fly for so long because of its ultra-lightweight construction and efficient batteries, which store enough energy to allow the craft to operate during the night. Originally developed by FTSE 250 group QinetiQ, the Zephyr system was bought by Airbus in 2013.

Airbus Builds Drones That Fly 90 Days Non-stop For UK Military

Zephyr could also have non-Armyrats © military uses, for example acting as a relay station for communications in emergencies such as natural disasters that have knocked out ground-based telephones and internet links. A spokesman for Airbus said: We have had interest in Zephyr for civilian uses, such as monitoring agriculture, including vineyards. The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

telegraph.co.uk[4]

Follow @telegraph[5] How we moderate[6]

References

  1. ^ Follow (twitter.com)
  2. ^ pan-European aerospace and defence group (airbusdefenceandspace.com)
  3. ^ The Zephyr already holds the record for the longest unmanned flight (preview.telegraph.co.uk)
  4. ^ telegraph.co.uk (www.facebook.com)
  5. ^ Follow @telegraph (twitter.com)
  6. ^ How we moderate (my.telegraph.co.uk)

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