Many branches of the U.S. military operate drones with different capacities. The drones are used for short-term surveillance, while some monitor ground activities, especially in highly secure areas. The U.S. Navy is planning to develop Solar-powered unscrewed air vehicles which can fly for a much longer duration.
Therefore the U.S. navy has awarded a contract of $5 million to Skydweller, the aerospace company. As a part of the contract, the company will develop a long-endurance UAV that will operate with the help of Solar energy. Detailed information on the deal is not yet revealed. However, the key performance parameters have been confirmed by the company.
The flight will operate at an altitude of 30,000 to 45,000 feet and carry up to 800 pounds of payload. The flight has a 236-foot wingspan. Its weight is 2495 kilograms. The aircraft will carry different missions such as intelligence, surveillance, and communications. Most importantly, it will provide support during natural disasters.It will monitor the environment and conduct geospatial mapping. Intelligence and surveillance will be its key missions. Currently, the U.S. Navy uses MQ-9A Reaper for carrying out surveillance missions.