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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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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.


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