Laser-Powered Aerial Electricity
US fighter aircraft manufacturers are delving deeper into the field of unmanned air systems (UASs). Lockheed Martin, the producer of the F-16 and F-35 fighter aircraft, is investing in the development of a method for transferring electric power to UASs through the use of lasers, in order to provide them with a very long endurance period.
As previously reported by IsraelDefense, Boeing, the manufacturer of the F-15 and F-18 fighter aircraft, signed a cooperation agreement with Israel's Elbit Systems last week, for cooperating in the field of UASs. Lockheed Martin, the competing US aircraft manufacturer, recently carried out a test in the framework of the flight of a small UAS. In its framework, electric energy was transferred to the UAS's engine through the use of a directed laser beam.
The UAS has an endurance of only two hours, yet it stayed aloft for approximately 48 hours in the framework of the test. According to the US aircraft manufacturer, the test was stopped after 48 hours only because the duration of the flight had considerably surpassed what was initially planned. The test was conducted within a wind tunnel, and now another test is being planned for an ordinary flight.
Many companies around the world are attempting to use focused, directed lasers in order to transfer energy to UASs and satellites. The method, known as Laser Beaming, will allow these instruments to operate in a near unlimited capacity, as they will no longer depend on the lifespans of batteries.