AeroVironment has test-flown a solar-powered version of its Puma UAS for more than 9h, a crucial milestone in advance of entering production in 2014.

The solar-powered version of Puma is the latest in the trend of extending endurance via innovative methods. Several solar-powered UAVs are either in testing or for sale, but none with the market reach of AeroVironment, by far the most prolific builder of UAVs in the country.

"Our integration of this cutting-edge technology dramatically increases Puma's current flight endurance using a clean, renewable power source," says Roy Minson, AeroVironment's senior vice president and general manager. "This development can give Puma AE customers significantly increased capabilities that approach those of the next class of UAS at a much lower acquisition and operating cost, and with much greater operational flexibility."

The gallium arsenide-based solar cells are built by Alta Devices of Sunnyvale, California.

Source: Flight Daily News