LONDON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Israel Aerospace Industries successfully integrated a hydrogen proton exchange membrane fuel cell system into a mini-UAV, doubling its flight time.
The United Kingdom's Defense Update quoted IAI as saying use of the Aeropak PEM system increased the endurance time of the Birdeye 650 LE unmanned aerial vehicle to 6 hours.
The The Aeropak PEM fuel cell, developed by Singapore's Horizon Energy Systems, weighs about the same as the rechargeable batteries currently powering the mini-UAV, therefore keeping the takeoff weight of the BirdEye at 44 pounds.
The weight includes the payload carried by the mini-UAV -- a miniature Micro-POP or STAMP mini-payload weighing up to 2.6 pounds.
"The Aeropak is a game-changing propulsion power system," HES Managing Director Gareth Tang said in a news release. "The advantages it brings are beyond power, weight and energy since it impacts on mission operation modes.
"Our new fuel cell system reduces the number of takeoffs while simultaneously expanding mission radius and operation coverage, reducing casualty and easing logistical burden and cost."