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QinetiQ - Zephyr Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV)


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QinetiQ
: 06 February, 2008  (New Product)
The Zephyr Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) is an ultra-lightweight carbon fibre aircraft, weighing just 30kg. It flies on solar power generated by amorphous silicon arrays covering the aircraft’s wings, no thicker than sheets of paper.
Zephyr is powered day and night by lithium-sulphur batteries that are recharged during the day using solar power. The aircraft uses a bespoke autopilot system to navigate between waypoints and to remove the requirement for permanent manual operation.

Zephyr has secured a place in the history of UAV development by exceeding the world record for the longest duration unmanned flight. The high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft achieved a 54-hour flight, reaching an altitude of 58,355 feet in August 2007.

Applications for Zephyr include earth observation and communication relay.

Benefits
• Zephyr’s lightweight structure allows it to travel non-stop over long distances
• The unique propeller design gives the aircraft a high power to weight ratio
• The wing design maximises on thermal air currents to lift the aircraft to high altitudes
• The aircraft flies day and night powered by solar energy – recharging its batteries during the day
• No complicated launching mechanisms - the aircraft is launched by hand
• Zephyr is environmentally friendly
• Flies silently – no noise pollution
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