The Pentagon’s Army Futures Command announced that the Airbus Zephyr multipurpose drone, launched by the APNT / Space CFT group (it is responsible to accelerate implementation of advanced developments for US military), continues its flight. It began on June 15. It has been flying for 36 days despite the fact it broke the 2018 record for unmanned aerial vehicle flight duration. This flight took 26 days.
Airbus Zephyr has solar panels but its main distinguishing feature is the ability to fly for several months. Airbus Zephyr was the first UAV to be launched in stratospheric space. The launched APNT / Space CFT Zephyr is at an altitude 21.3 km.
The Zephyr is a 25-meter long drone and weighs in at less than 75kg. It can be used to gather intelligence and surveillance. The Zephyr can be fitted with radar, lidar, and infrared sensors. ” Unmanned long-flight unmanned platforms can provide significant military capability within an army with a diversified layered Architecture,” said Michael Monteleone (APNT/Space CFT) leader.
Army Futures Command reported that the Zephyr flew over water as part of its tests and entered “international airspace”. This flight was also the longest continuous flight with satellite communications controls. APNT/Space CFT reports that the second round Zephyr testing will be conducted in the Pacific Ocean over the next few weeks. This will allow the AFC to test the drone’s ability to carry a payload for various combat missions.