Print 19 comment(s) - last by rika13.. on Dec 31 at 6:56 AM

Ion Tiger during test flight  (Source: NRL)
The Navy's Ion Tiger UAV has seen good results so far

The Ion Tiger unmanned aerial vehicle set an endurance record by flying 26 hours and one minute as it set the bar even higher while the U.S. military looks to increase the use of unmanned aircraft overseas.

The U.S. Navy's Ion Tiger flew over the Aberdeen Proving Ground on November 16 and November 17 for more than one day, as the 37-lb. aircraft carried its fuel-cell engine, 9.5-lb. compressed hydrogen tank, and a five-pound payload.

Ion Tiger has a a day-night camera capable of surveillance and reconnaissance for future missions, said representatives from the Naval Research Laboratory.  The recent test flight was meant as an endurance test, and researchers were quick to point out that much work is left to be done.

As the use of UAVs continues to increase in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, military officials are interested in creating greener UAVs that are able to fly for longer durations.  Using a light, powerful engine, the Ion Tiger is quieter and has a lower heat signature than traditional internal combustion engines.

UAVs are being used to patrol the Somali coast to help deter pirate attacks on commercial ships, while U.S. military officials expressed interest in also using them to help re-supply ground troops in remote areas of Afghanistan. 

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Stop repeating this crap
By amanojaku on 12/1/2009 8:12:10 AM , Rating: 5
military officials are interested in creating greener UAVs
The military could give a damn about the environment. Its goal is to gather intelligence to better protect its citizens. These enhancements are of a military nature and the greenness is just a pleasant side effect.

RE: Stop repeating this crap
By blowfish on 12/1/09, Rating: -1
RE: Stop repeating this crap
By drewsup on 12/1/2009 8:42:34 AM , Rating: 1
I don't know why you modded him down, I evened it out though.
While the tone was a tad harsh, I have to agree, the military gives f*Ck all about the "green" aspect of their UAV's. The whole purpose of this experiment is to create a quieter surveillance platform, nothing more.
Will this translate to any consumer based applications.. Maybe a glider with a zero emissions engine for take off? who knows..

RE: Stop repeating this crap
By DougF on 12/1/2009 9:35:10 AM , Rating: 2
...use of CFC's which are used to suppress vapour trails in military aircraft.


I've been around U.S. military aircraft for, let's see...almost 30 years, on fighters, bombers, and cargo aircraft. Not one had a CFC cartrigde installed, nor are CFCs used in fuels.

RE: Stop repeating this crap
By blowfish on 12/1/2009 12:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
It was an ironic joke, maybe I need to indicate that for people not used to irony. I thought the "come on now" would have set the tone.

Sounded credible though, didn't it?

RE: Stop repeating this crap
By nuarbnellaffej on 12/1/2009 10:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe I'm just thick, but I fail to see the irony... or the joke.

RE: Stop repeating this crap
By MrPoletski on 12/4/2009 6:29:43 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe I'm just thick, but I fail to see the irony... or the joke.

There was no irony there, somebody just needs to go back to irony school, along with Alanis Morisette.

RE: Stop repeating this crap
By Samus on 12/2/2009 4:32:55 AM , Rating: 3
I was listening to NPR the other day, and although not neccessarily a reliable source of information, they did state something I found amusing.

The United States Military is the heaviest polluter in the world.

RE: Stop repeating this crap
By MrPoletski on 12/4/2009 6:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
No, that title is held by my ass the morning after friday night curry fest.

37 lbs./26 hrs.
By Alderman on 12/1/2009 1:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
If they can fly a 37 lb fuel cell powered UAV for 26 hours non-stop, they certainly can improve the gasoline powered cars on our highways now.

RE: 37 lbs./26 hrs.
By bupkus on 12/1/2009 1:38:16 PM , Rating: 3
Unmanned they could do much better than that.
Of course in L.A. they would also go un-wheeled.

RE: 37 lbs./26 hrs.
By SPOOFE on 12/1/2009 8:33:41 PM , Rating: 2
Who's "they" and are "they" getting billions of dollars of taxpayer money with no shareholders demanding a return on investment?

Technical hurdles are one thing, practical hurdles are another.

Record ONLY for medium or low altitude
By Shadowself on 12/1/2009 10:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
There are high flyers that already exceed this endurance. They've existed for well over a year.

By FITCamaro on 12/1/2009 11:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
There's also the ability to benefit from stronger air currents at higher altitudes. So that doesn't surprise me.

By dnd728 on 12/1/2009 12:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
Green UAV's? Read the headline...
By theaerokid on 12/1/2009 9:26:24 AM , Rating: 3
This isn't about "green" UAV's. UAV emissions are minimal compared to all the other assets the military uses, and it will stay that way for a while. It's about endurance and reduced IR observability with the added benefit of noise reduction. With electrics, you only hear faint prop noise under 500 ft, and maybe some gear noise depending on your gearing obviously.

Props to my homies at NRL's UAV shop. I miss making cool toys with those guys. I know Jim K. was in your hearts and minds when the Ion Tiger took flight.

By HotFoot on 12/1/2009 10:00:02 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly... getting similar endurance to a gas/diesel with a good deal of signature reduction is fantastic progress.

Cut the green crap
By Headfoot on 12/3/2009 10:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
I dont give a damn its a "Greener" UAV, does it actually do its job better??

By rika13 on 12/31/2009 6:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
even the military would love to be green (no pun intended) but they aint going to screw our soldiers over for it

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