A solar-powered electric aircraft which could stay airborne for a year has completed its first test flight. The PHASA-35 is an unmanned electrical ariel vehicle that was designed to fill the gap between aircraft and satellite technology. The electrical UAV was designed by BAE Systems and Prismatic two years ago. According to reports, the UAV will fly at altitudes of up to 20 km in the sky which constitutes Earth's stratosphere and can stay in the air for up to a year.
The test flight for the PHASA-35 took place at the Royal Australian Air Force's Woomera test range in South Australia.
Reports suggest that the plane has a wingspan of 35 feet that is covered in solar panels that will power the plane during the day and also charge up the battery that keeps it airborne at night. During the text flight, the plane reportedly flew at an altitude of 2 km. Though this height is far from its goal of 20 km, the achievement is still exemplary given that the design was only recently completed.
PHASA-35® has successfully completed its maiden flight. The long-life battery and highly efficient #solar #technology could allow the #aircraft to maintain #flight for up to a year!— BAE Systems (@BAESystemsplc) February 17, 2020
Find out more ➡️ https://t.co/lrSS5TKn0f https://t.co/QzBZLzhS72 pic.twitter.com/TWLgEnJJtH
According to reports, BAE Systems believes that its plane could even be used in the future to deliver 5G communication networks. Currently, the weight carrying capacity of the PHASA-35 is maxed out at 15 kgs, which is much lower than the minimum 40 kgs required to carry input and output antennas that support 5G.
BAE Systems has also reported that their PHAS-35 will be commercially viable and available in less than 12 months.
Fantastic achievement by the PHASA-35 team, it's exciting for Australia to be involved in this game changing leap in #technology. The successful trials were held at the RAAF Woomera Test Range, and were sponsored by Australia's @DefenceScience https://t.co/EnOU0lIV45 pic.twitter.com/UNC6juOEFE— BAE Systems Australia (@BAESystemsAus) February 17, 2020
(Image Credit: @BAESystemsplc)