Flight trials planned in USA for BAE Systems' unmanned aircraft

BAE Systems is planning US-based flight trials this year for its revolutionary stratospheric unmanned aircraft.

Thursday, 28th January 2021, 3:31 pm

The PHASA-35 is a 35-meter wingspan solar-electric aircraft which can potentially remain airbone for a year.

This follows its successful initial flight trial, along with critical functional and performance tests of the fully integrated aircraft and systems.

The PHASA-35 high altitude, long endurance, uncrewed aerial vehicle (HALE UAV) has the potential to maintain flight for up to a year at a time, in the stratosphere, providing military and commercial customers with tools not currently available from existing air and space programmes.

The PHASA-35

PHASA-35 has a wide range of potential applications such as the delivery of ISR capabilities, 5G and other communications networks, as well as support to disaster relief and border protection.

Lisa Hand, vice president of BAE Systems Integrated Defense Solutions, said: “There is a strong, growing interest in PHASA-35’s capabilities across both the U.S. defense and commercial markets, and a number of prospective customer engagements are ongoing.

“The U.S. is expected to be a significant market for PHASA-35. It is an incredible technology that will offer numerous mission-enabling capabilities across a wide U.S. Department of Defense and federal agency customer base.

"We are actively engaged with end-users to identify various payloads of interest and associated integration requirements.

"As a leading systems integrator, we are excited to continue to partner with our colleagues in the U.K. to deliver this technology and its capabilities to our customers.”

PHASA-35 is part of a collaboration between BAE Systems and Prismatic Ltd, a British technology subject matter expert.

It offers a persistent and affordable alternative to satellites combined with the flexibility of an aircraft.

Ravi Ravichandran, Chief Technology Officer of BAE Systems Intelligence & Security, said: “Our goal is to support our warfighters by providing an advantage against adversaries.

“With the convergence of many technologies and various challenging problems, we believe PHASA-35’s capabilities and endurance will strengthen execution of the mission.”

The aircraft’s long-life battery and highly efficient solar technology allow PHASA-35 to potentially maintain flight for up to a year operating in the stratosphere, the upper regions of the Earth’s atmosphere above the weather and conventional air traffic.

It will plug the gap between aircraft and satellite technology.