Spy plane stays four days in the air, with no pollution

luglio 13, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Every single day we happen to read (and to write) about some new spy plane, and with so many of them around, our skies (especially above areas where peace is at risk or absent, such as Middle East, Iraq or Afghanistan) are crowded with drones keeping a watchful eye over the terrain below from different angles and heights.

The latest novelty in this field was introduced by Boeing a few days ago and is called Phantom Eye. This spy plane with its peculiar egg-like shape and a 45m wingspan, can reach an altitude of approximately 65000 feet (around 20000 meters) and thanks to its twin 2300 cc engines, it can stay up in the air for up to 4 consecutive days while carrying a payload of approximately 200 kgs, and reaching a maximum speed of 150 knots, and all this without a pilot.

Furthermore, Phantom Eye is capable of flying in an absolutely clean way, with a decidedly reduced operating cost, since its engines are powered by a hydrogen fuel cell; unlike normal engines mounted on commercial airliners, the hydrogen engine does not produce carbon monoxide, but pure and simple water, thus playing its small part to keep our skies clean.

For now, Phantom Eye is just a prototype, but by the early months of next year, after the first tests on the ground, we will start to see tests in the air of a vehicle that seems set to revolutionize the world of spy planes, not only for its technical characteristics (the surveillance equipment mounted on board should not dramatically differ from what is currently available on this market), but rather for being the first high-altitude UAV built with an eye to energy saving and clean energy.

An unmanned combat aircraft, completely invisible to radars

luglio 13, 2010 Technology No Commenti

The British Ministry of Defence has just introduced Taranis, the first prototype of pilotless combat aircraft (or UCAS, Unmanned Combat Aircraft System) capable of flying in stealth mode, without being detected by enemy radars along its way, and of striking at very long range, even thousands of kilometers away from its base.

The aircraft, called Taranis, is the result of a design and development work which lasted more than three years and a half, and it is bound to become the largest unmanned combat aircraft operating in war zones, once the test flights have been completed (its maiden flight is scheduled by 2011).

It will be equipped with two bays for weaponry, and although it is fitted with equipment that allow it to function in a completely independent manner for most of its mission, the ultimate control and final decision over use of force will be taken by the ground personnel that operates it remotely.

The Taranis project brings together, under the Ministry of Defence umbrella, giants of the avionics, aerospace and electronics fields. Big names such as BAE Systems (which will supervise the entire project), GE Aviation, Qinetiq and Rolls Royce are cooperating to deliver Her Majesty’s troops a new tool to strike from a distance and in complete safety.

During the unveiling ceremony, which took place at BAE Systems’ plant in Warton, no details have been provided yet about weapons, navigation systems and the technology that will be mounted on board the Taranis, but we are sure it will be the best available, to ensure absolute flexibility and an equally absolute precision to strike without being detected by enemy defences.


luglio: 2010
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