Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010 Technology

Fast Solar-Powered Unmanned Airship from DARPA


DARPA presented a design of an environmentally-friendly unmanned ship with an advanced radar system, solar cells as well as a fuel cell where the collected power is stored. It is worth mentioning that solar cells not only collect power from the sun, they also generate hydrogen and oxygen from water throughout the day.

The automated helium-filled airship was named The Integrated Sensor Is the Structure (ISIS). It uses a radar system to take high-resolution pictures of battlefield areas.

The airship can reach a speed of 60 knots in case it makes use of eco-friendly technology and 100 knots if it uses all of its power. This means that the blimp is able to reach any part of the planet within 10 days.

The ISIS' surveillance range is 187 miles for people on the ground and 373 miles for advanced cruise missiles.

To be able to create ISIS, which would fly in the stratosphere, engineers need to integrate new technologies. They have to figure out a way of integrating ultra-lightweight, phased array radar into a blimp's platform.

The main feature of the airship is its hull material, which is much lighter and stronger compared to conventional hull material.

The ISIS can also evade ground-based missiles as well as air-to-air missiles. This is because the airship can fly over 6 miles in the air, informs MITRE.

The first prototype of the airship is expected to be built by 2013.

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