ScanEagle completes hydrogen-powered fuel cell flight
Insitu has announced that the ScanEagle UAV has successfully completed its first hydrogen-powered fuel cell flight. The two-and-a-half-hour flight test marks an important step in the move toward hydrogen-powered fuel cell solutions as an alternative to expensive gas and heavy fuel solutions in UAVs.
According to the company, the hydrogen-powered fuel cell solution was implemented as a modular upgrade to the runway-independent, expeditionary Group 2 ScanEagle UAV. The collaboration between Insitu, Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and United Technologies (UTC) took UTC's 1500 Watt (2 HP) fuel cell and integrated it with NRL's hydrogen fuelling solution into a ScanEagle propulsion module.
As well as increasing reliability and reducing operating costs, Insitu believes fuel cell technology will increase payload capacity and help simplify support logistics.
Insitu said that the US Department of Defence (DOD) recently laid out its vision for the role that fuel cells will play in improving mission capability. The fuel-cell powered flight of ScanEagle, demonstrates Insitu's continuing commitment to respond to the needs of its customers by introducing new technology into a modular system designed for expansion and growth.
Insitu is also collaborating with the Air Force Research Lab to flight test a fuel cell on the Integrator UAV later this year.
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