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
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.
use of UAVs continues
to increase in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, military officials
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
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.