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Boeing HALE  (Source: Boeing)
Ford provides propulsion for Boeing's latest UAV

Boeing is pushing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the next level with the help of Ford Motor Company. The company today announced that its High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAV has successfully completed simulated testing.

The HALE uses a prototype hydrogen engine developed by Ford. According to the Boeing press release, the hydrogen engine is based on the Duratec 23 four-cylinder gasoline engine used in the Focus, Fusion and Escape. In this particular application, however, the engine not only runs on hydrogen, but also uses multi-stage turbocharging.

"This test demonstrates the technical readiness of the hydrogen engine system and confirms the capability breakthrough in flight endurance and altitude that could be realized by a variety of military and commercial customers," said Darryl Davis of Boeing's Advanced Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems.

"This test could help convince potential customers that hydrogen-powered aircraft are viable in the near-term," continued Boeing Advanced Systems President George Muellner. "This is a substantial step toward providing the persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities our customers desire."

The test simulated four days of sustained flight -- three of which were simulated at 65,000 feet. Production versions of the HALE will be designed to stay aloft for a week and can carry up to one ton of cargo.

The military is increasingly looking to unmanned vehicles – both on land and in the air – to put human soldiers out of harm’s way. This latest development from Boeing and Ford could usher in a new era of next-generation UAVs with the stamina and payload capacity to really make a difference in the skies above the battlefield.

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Flying Ford Focus
By Adonlude on 10/24/2007 4:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
So basically what they are saying is we now have flying Focuses to fight the war on terror. Awesome. Personally I think they should have gone with the new Nissan GT-R engine... much more intimidating.

RE: Flying Ford Focus
By Fnoob on 10/24/2007 5:23:17 PM , Rating: 5
Lemme guess... it also needs three spoilers stacked ontop of each other. And bass. Lots of bass. And some neon bling too?

RE: Flying Ford Focus
By RubberJohnny on 10/25/2007 12:08:22 AM , Rating: 2
or a cast iron push-rod v8 wait it'd never get off the ground...

RE: Flying Ford Focus
By exdeath on 10/25/2007 2:17:51 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah like all the WWII planes that never made it off the ground... all with iron blocks, and not only V8s, but V12s and V16s, push rods, etc. In fact iron is/was preferred for it's strength and sturdiness as reliability and toughness is important in engines intended for aviation.

Don't be a hater just because something 'ancient' makes more power in a smaller space than your "super advanced DOHC ultra XYZABC-Ztec III RSV-S w/ VVT-PQXXY" does.

Seriously though, a DOHC V6 actually weighs more than a GM 5.7L push rod engine... And the difference between an iron block and aluminum block in most cases is about ~70 lbs for a V8; hardly a dent in a 10,000+ lb air craft carrying a 200 lb pilot.

RE: Flying Ford Focus
By Ringold on 10/25/2007 5:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
Ever see one of the Packard or Merlin engines that went in to a Mustang? They're... beautiful... and massive. Not to mention, P-51's with modified engines are routinely the fastest racing planes in the world; being 'ancient', like you say, is no hinderance. In fact, it seems to be a benefit for the P51, as nobody has had the need nor the balls to create such a raw specimen of power post-WW2.

RE: Flying Ford Focus
By Kefner on 10/24/2007 5:38:51 PM , Rating: 3
No, we have flying Foci. :)

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