Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive use laser to power UAV for 48 hours

Stalker UAVPALMDALE, Calif., July 12, 2012. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] and LaserMotive, Inc., a privately held research and development company that specials in laser power beaming, recently demonstrated the capabilities of a laser power system to extend the Stalker unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight time to more than 48 hours. This increase in flight duration represents an improvement of 2,400 percent.

The Stalker is a hand-launched UAV that was developed in 2006. It is designed to be carried and operated by an individual soldier, weighing in at just over 13 pounds and featuring a wingspan of 9'10". The system includes a hand held control system and communications device. Stalker is a silent UAV used by Special Operations Forces since mid-2006 to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The original stalker could carry a payload of up to 3 pounds on two hour missions with a range of approximately 12 miles.

The Stalker UAV was modified for the indoor flight test to incorporate LaserMotive’s proprietary system that makes it possible to wirelessly transfer energy over long distances using laser light. This light was used to provide a continual source of power to the UAV. At the conclusion of the flight test, held in a wind tunnel, the battery on the Stalker UAV had more energy stored than it did at the beginning of the test. The test was concluded because the flight had already surpassed the initial endurance goals set by the team, rather than a need to land the UAV.

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