05 Oct '12, 5pm

2012/10/05 Making Connections At 45,000 Feet: Future UAVs May Fuel Up In Flight

Making Connections At 45,000 Feet: Future UAVs May Fuel Up In Flight October 05, 2012 DARPA completes close-proximity flight tests of two modified RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles, demonstrates technology enabling autonomous aerial refueling Currently global military aviation relies on a key enabler – aerial refueling. Fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and transport aircraft use “flying gas stations” to go the extra mile. Increasingly, UAVs are conducting combat and ISR operations, but UAVs aren’t designed to be refueled in flight. In 2007, DARPA teamed up with NASA to show that high-performance aircraft can easily perform automated refueling from conventional tankers, yet many unmanned aircraft can’t match the speed, altitude and performance of the current tanker fleet. The 2007 demonstration also required a pilot on board to set conditions and monitor safety dur...

Full article: http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2012/10/05.aspx

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