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US fuel cell 6 hour unmanned flight
Fuel Cells, Aug 07 2009 (The Hydrogen Journal)
- An unmanned aeroplane, powered by fuel cell, has been in the sky for a record 6 hours, in a project by the US Naval Research Laboratory.
The test flight was on June 6th, although the information was only released in August 2009.
The aeroplane is being developed for potential intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Fuel cells are very attractive in unmanned aircraft because they are quieter and harder to spot using heat cameras. They are also easier to start, operate and maintain, the US Navy says.
By using fuel cells, the Navy hopes to develop aeroplanes which can fly longer and carry heavier loads than battery-powered aircraft.
The aeroplane being developed will have a maximum flight time of over 7 hours, a maximum speed of 52 knots and a normal ("loiter") speed of 30 knots.