Last week saw the rollout at the Las Vegas, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference, yes there really is a US conference for drone makers, of “Silent Falcon,” a man-portable , solar assisted, lightweight carbon composite, lithium polymer battery powered, Unmanned Aircraft System, (UAS.) Weighing in at just over 27 lbs., and with a solar assisted flight time of up to 14 hours, Silent Falcon is intended for both military and civilian use.
With “a top speed of 112 km/h, (60 knots), an operational flying altitude from 100 feet (30.5 m) to 20,000 feet (6,096 m) and a range of 25 kilometers (15.5 mi),” Silent Falcon is probably too late to make much difference to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. But as the PR goes on to note “as a bonus, the electric motor makes Silent Falcon, for want of a better word, silent and, according to the makers, it can’t be heard beyond about 100 feet (30.5 m).” Depending on cost, there will be a lot civil and military interest in the latest in lightweight carbon composite UAS. Silent Falcon is likely to be just the first in a long 21st century line of similar, probably bigger, ultra light, unmanned flying drones. Sounds like the Las Vegas, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference, was one interesting place to be. Were anyGraphite blog readers there?
Solar-powered Silent Falcon UAV unveiled
By David Szondy 21:28 August 9, 2012
UAVs have become increasingly common in everything from carrying out missile strikes against terrorists to helping map archaeological sites. They come in all sizes from jet-powered behemoths to ones so small that they can sit in your hand. On Monday, Silent Falcon UAS Technologies of Alburquerque, New Mexico rolled out the latest in the small UAV class with the unveiling of its solar-powered Silent Falcon at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference in Las Vegas.
Built in collaboration with Bye Aerospace, Silent Falcon is designed to be a man-portable small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) for long-duration intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. This in itself isn’t very new, but Silent Falcon is built of lightweight carbon composites and employs a solar electric propulsion system, which gives it an endurance of up to 14 hours in the sky. To give some idea of how much the solar power contributes, Silent Falcon can only fly up to six hours running on battery power at night.