BAE Systems has successfully completed the maiden flight of its solar-powered, high-altitude, unmanned aircraft.
The Persistent High Altitude Solar Aircraft (PHASA-35®) is designed to operate in the stratosphere and will bridge the gap between aircraft and satellites. The aircraft is a High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) vehicle, and uses highly efficient solar panels, combined with long-life batteries to help it operate for up to a year without landing. BAE sees the aircraft being used by both military and commercial customers for communications, 5G deployment, surveillance and more.
“This is an outstanding early result that demonstrates the pace that can be achieved when we bring the best of British capability together,” said Ian Muldowney, Engineering Director. “To go from design to flight in less than two years shows that we can rise to the challenge the UK Government has set industry to deliver a Future Combat Air System within the next decade.”
BAE says the new aircraft helps deliver abilities and potential not currently being met by either traditional aircraft or satellites, while still offering the benefits of both.