The US military wants to refuel its drones with a laser beam

Active in the air. Planes and helicopters are capable of that, and DARPA wants to refuel in-flight with an onboard laser beam under the wings of a plane to refuel in order to recharge the drone’s batteries.

keep Drone up in the air by recharging their batteries during their flight, here’s Project American Darpa, the Pentagon’s emerging technologies branch. The new program is called Airborne power wells is transform tanker plane In giant chargers and electric drones.

Unlike planes and helicopters that require connection to the tanker to fill up the fuel, Drone can be recharged Across Beam laser. Darpa Consult Companies likely to supply KC-135 and KC-46 carriers winged horse From the Air Force with a pod equipped with this inferior laser power supply. The power of this laser can peak at 100 kW. In addition to this nacelle, a thermal control system surrounding the laser device will be located in the tanker cabin. By providing the possibility to recharge Dronein addition to increasing Autonomy in flightDARPA also intends to exempt them from batteries so they are more versatile and carry a little more sensors or weapons.

Remote laser recharge testing conducted by the US Naval Research Laboratories in 2019. © USNRL

High-powered long-range charging

Recharge A Planes Flying is not an easy task and DARPA knows it. The confusion Atmosphere Clouds And the fall Impact on beam strength laser. The thermal regulation problems of the laser system are also important, in addition to Mass From sender and receiver. Work on laser reloading is not new to the US Air Force.

From 2011, projects have been carried out by NASA on these systems. In recent years, remote charging tests have already been carried out with a 2-kilowatt laser, which was transmittedenergy At a distance of about 300 meters. Today, DARPA is taking that ambition even further by researching a system capable of delivering 50 times more power over much greater transmission distances.

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