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TsAGI tests solar-powered drone

The concept of a high-altitude pseudo satellite which can stay in the air for several weeks is a leading current trend. The option of its implementation is the demonstrator of a solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle with an electric power plant designed by the Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI), the institute said.

TsAGI tests solar powered drone PHASA 35 M, a solar-powered High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAV developed by BAE Systems and Prismatic (Picture source: Prismatic)

The drone uses film elements of solar batteries. It will be powered in a night flight by batteries for 10-12 hours. The payload comprises communication transmitters, photo and video cameras, meteorological equipment. Propellers are located on wing edges to decrease power consumption against other options of propeller location.

The institute completed the first stage of experiments of a large-scale demonstrator of 1:6 scale. The trials were held in TsAGI small speed wind tunnel.

The experiments confirmed high aerodynamic qualities and the effectiveness of the craft scheme and the concept of wing mechanization.

"As for today, the technical-tactical characteristics of the demonstrator are preliminary. The type of engines, energy efficiency of accumulator and solar batteries, the weight of the construction can vary during subsequent development," head of TsAGI sector for aircraft and missile aerodynamics Alexander Kornushenko said.

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