Zephyr HALE UAV

Flyaway

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As part of the U.K. Government's SDSR announcement today QinetiQ are to develop & deploy on behalf of the MOD the Zephyr solar powered HALE UAV.


http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/zephyr/

• New equipment and weapons will be made available for the special forces, the Special Air Service (SAS) and the Special Boat Service (SBS). This will include a weaponised Zephyr drone that is capable of remaining in the air for months.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/23/trident-nuclear-renewal-costs-rise-by-6bn-defence-review-reveals
 

AeroFranz

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errr....weaponising Zephyr?
The thing flies at some ungodly altitude and has a comms payload of 2 lbs. What weapons could it possibly carry and deploy? :eek:
 

red admiral

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Zephyr and the team hae been owned by Airbus for a few years now.
 

Flyaway

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AeroFranz said:
errr....weaponising Zephyr?
The thing flies at some ungodly altitude and has a comms payload of 2 lbs. What weapons could it possibly carry and deploy? :eek:
Maybe they intend to scale it up in size.
 

Grey Havoc

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Flyaway said:
AeroFranz said:
errr....weaponising Zephyr?
The thing flies at some ungodly altitude and has a comms payload of 2 lbs. What weapons could it possibly carry and deploy? :eek:
Maybe they intend to scale it up in size.
Alternatively, they may be thinking along the lines of an offensive EW suite.
 

AeroFranz

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The reason i'm skeptical is that solar powered airplanes are extremely sensitive to payload. they are huge and flimsy to start with, and even a small percent increase in weight sends wing area and weight spiraling up. Typical wingloadings are in the order of 1 lb/ft2...
Also, because they're built light (flimsy), they have to fly where winds and turbulence are at a minimum - 65,000'.

All the commercial ventures announced in the recent months from internet companies, if realized, will result in very large aircraft, like wingspans in the order of 50-75 meters. And this just to carry modest payloads. This is why i'm doubtful there will ever be a weaponized (as in kinetic effects) solar UAV.
 

TomS

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I think this has to be a misunderstanding of what was actually said. This Jane's article I think makes more sense:

http://www.janes.com/article/56204/sdsr-2015-uk-prime-minister-confirms-plans-to-field-near-space-uav-likely-zephyr


Announcing a series of enhancements to the UK's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities during the reading of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in the House of Commons, David Cameron said that the country is to field a "British-designed unmanned aircraft [that] will fly at the very edge of the earth's atmosphere and allow us to observe our adversaries for weeks on end, providing critical intelligence for our forces."

While he gave no further details, the solar-powered Zephyr UAV that Airbus DS is developing with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under the High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) project is the only platform that fits the bill.
No reference to weaponization. The SDSR synopsis that was published talks about increased spending in IRS and Communications for Special Forces, which fits Zephyr much better.
 

Flyaway

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United Kingdom confirms planned Zephyr UAV buy

The United Kingdom is to procure a pair of Airbus Defence and Space (DS) Zephyr high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for operational trials to determine how best to fulfil its wider persistent surveillance requirements, it was confirmed on 2 February.

Speaking at an event hosted by ADS Group, a non-governmental organisation that represents the UK defence sector, Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon said that a GBP10.6 million (USD15.2 million) contract for two Zephyr 8 'pseudo-satellites' for an Operational Concept Demonstrator (OCD) programme was "imminent".
http://www.janes.com/article/57681/united-kingdom-confirms-planned-zephyr-uav-buy
 

shedofdread

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What a shame they couldn't have gone ahead with this while it was all still under the Qinetiq banner..... I'd better say no more at this juncture :(
 

Grey Havoc

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http://arstechnica.co.uk/information-technology/2016/02/the-amazing-eternal-sun-drone-will-the-zephyr-shine-or-burn/
 

Flyaway

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UK discloses Zephyr-suited payload investment

The UK government’s Centre for Defence Excellence (CDE) is supporting the development of payload projects, which will seemingly be adapted for use on its new Airbus Defence & Space Zephyr high-altitude pseudo satellite (HAPS).

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-discloses-zephyr-suited-payload-investment-424466/
 

Flyaway

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Airbus releases Zephyr T details, outlines CONOPS for systems

http://www.janes.com/article/62274/farnborough-2016-airbus-releases-zephyr-t-details-outlines-conops-for-systems
 

Flyaway

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UK opts to acquire third Zephyr pseudo-satellite

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-opts-to-acquire-third-zephyr-pseudo-satellite-428582/
 

LemonFox

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Flyaway said:
UK opts to acquire third Zephyr pseudo-satellite

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-opts-to-acquire-third-zephyr-pseudo-satellite-428582/
Zephyr is being purchased under an Operational Concept Demonstrator (OCD) effort, and will result in an MoD assessment of the surveillance system next year. Opting to acquire the extra airframe will allow the UK government to test two Zephyrs simultaneously, the MoD says.
...Freudian much...

*snickers*
 

Flyaway

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Airbus' high-flying Zephyrs to head to UK for testing

The defence unit of Airbus expects the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to begin testing the company's Zephyr-S very-high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in late 2017, a company executive told Jane's , adding that the system will be delivered to the MoD before the end of the summer.

The United Kingdom ordered two Zephyr-S platforms for GBP10.6 million (USD13.81 million) in February 2016 and then added an optional third airframe to its order last August, bringing the total contract value up to GBP13 million.

"We would hope to see the Zephyr commercialised in the 2020-2022 timeframe - the Dutch navy and army are interested too - though there are still some technical issues to be ironed out," said Jack Offerman, account manager in Leiden for the Netherlands & Denmark at Airbus Defence & Space, in remarks to a small conference on dual-use technologies in Aarhus, Denmark, on 5 May. "We think the platform will have a huge number of transforming applications in terms of its data collection."
http://www.janes.com/article/70281/airbus-high-flying-zephyrs-to-head-to-uk-for-testing
 

Reaper

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I read about Solar Impulse and the day-night mission profile to store energy in batteries and through ascending to higher altitudes during the day and gliding down in the night (using potential energy). Does Zephyr do it the same way?
 

Flyaway

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Airbus to establish Zephyr flight test centre in Western Australia

Airbus has selected Wyndham Airport in Western Australia to be the primary flight test centre for its Zephyr ‘pseudo-satellite’ unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The Government of Western Australia said on 5 June that Airbus is to establish a site for the High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) programme at the site in the remote far north of both the territory and the country.

“The choice of Wyndham [was made] due to the largely unrestricted airspace and reliable weather, together with the strong support provided by the Western Australian Government,” a statement said.
http://www.janes.com/article/80630/airbus-to-establish-zephyr-flight-test-centre-in-western-australia
 

Flyaway

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Airbus sets flight endurance record with Zephyr UAV

Airbus Defence & Space looks to have earned a new world record for aerial endurance by keeping its Zephyr S solar-powered unmanned aircraft aloft for just minutes shy of 26 days. At 25 days 23h 57min, the maiden flight in Arizona lasted nearly twice as long as the previous record-breaking flight of more than 14 days, set by the aircraft’s predecessor. The company has applied to have the achievement ratified as a world record.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/airbus-sets-flight-endurance-record-with-zephyr-uav-451006/
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-army-eyes-high-altitude-uavs-like-airbus-zephyr-452551/
 
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