Indigenous solar-powered pseudo-satellite flies for over 21 hrs

The development comes as a big fillip to India’s plan to have its own long-endurance drones capable of flying in the stratosphere.
Solar-powered High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS)
Solar-powered High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS)

Bengaluru: Defence firm NewSpace Research and Technologies Pvt Ltd (NRT) has announced that its long-endurance drone, the solar-powered High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS), had carried out its first flight lasting over 21 hours. The development comes as a big fillip to India’s plan to have its own long-endurance drones capable of flying in the stratosphere.

The project is being spearheaded under the Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative of the defence ministry. Under this, NRT has signed a contract for an initial proof-of-concept demonstrator, which targets a solar-powered flight lasting longer than 48 hours.

The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, tests the solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’s (UAV) endurance at its worst. The next flight will take place on 21 June or the Summer Solstice, when the Sun will be at its brightest.

The IAF has included HAPS under a Rs 1,000 crore ‘Make I project’ of the Government of India. This means that 70 percent of the funding will come from the government.

Upbeat about the NRT feat, defence sources told that this was the next big thing in air warfare and that the flight included both day and night flying, with the UAV using solar energy for travel during the day and using its solar-charged battery for flying at night.

The sources refused to get into details of what altitude the UAV flew at, but said the plan is to have it fly in the stratosphere at about 65,000 feet, above air traffic.

For context, commercial aircraft typically fly between 31,000 and 38,000 feet, or at about 5.9 to 7.2 miles.

(Defence Watch– India’s Defence News centre that places the spotlight on Defence Manufacturing, Defence Technology, Strategy and Military affairs is on Twitter. Follow us here and stay updated.)

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Defence Watch
www.defencewatch.in