Military Embedded Systems

First Outdoor Flight Test of Laser-Powered UAS Performed by Lockheed Martin


August 08, 2012

Brandon Lewis

Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

LAS VEGAS ? The first-ever outdoor flight tests validating the performance of a laser-powered Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) have been completed on the Stalker UAS by Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive, Inc. Proof-of-concept testing of a Stalker system retrofitted with an on-board power management hardware and lightweight photovoltaic receiver took place both day and night at an undisclosed desert location in constant wind and heat conditions. Results demonstrated net positive power to the in-flight system at up to 600 meters, that the attached LaserMotive laser receiver did not impact normal flight operations, and that no damage was caused to the Stalker as a result of the laser itself.

Additionally, during periods of turbulence and system maneuvers, the laser showed centimeter accuracy at 500 meters for long time periods, while meeting Laser Clearinghouse, flight, and all other safety and operational requirements.

Powered by the laser system, the silent Lockheed Martin UAS used in Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions recently demonstrated 48 continuous hours of flight in a wind tunnel test.


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