AeroVironment recently completed a nine-hour test flight with a solar-powered variant of its Puma small unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
The Puma was equipped with Gallium Arsenide efficiency solar cells from Alta Devices for the solar-powered flight.
“This is a critical milestone with far-reaching implications for the many ways small UAS can benefit military, public safety and commercial customers,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager, unmanned aircraft systems. "Our integration of this cutting-edge technology dramatically increases Puma’s current flight endurance using a clean, renewable power source."
Currently AeroVironment is still in the design phase with the solar variant, with a production version planned for early 2014.
In July, FAA issued a "restricted category" rating for AeroVironment's Puma, the first of its kind which permits commercial usage of the Puma within U.S. civil airspace.
Related: Unmanned Systems News