Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is still looking for a fuel cell power system to replace the batteries currently used on its small unmanned air systems (UAS).

"We have a development plan for fuel cells in cooperation with Horizon, a leading developer," said Tommy Silberring, general manager of IAI's Malat UAS division.

"We are sure that these efforts will give us the capability to equip some of our UAS with such an energy system, that will increase its endurance and make it very quiet."

The preferred fuel cell system is one that uses highly reactive alkali metals to produce different types of strong reducing agents and convenient sources for hydrogen - rather than the alternative carriage of compressed hydrogen.

Alkali metals - Group 1 elements such as lithium, potassium and sodium - are highly reactive, and have a violent reaction when coming in contact with water.

The by-products of such a contact are metal hydroxides, hydrogen and heat.

Silberring said it will take at least another 18 months to have a working fuel cell system that will answer Malat's requirements.

Source: Flight International