TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. - BAE Systems in Falls Church, Virginia needed a way to store eletricity to power its PHASA-35 high-altitude pseudo satellite (HAPS) uncrewed aerial system (UAS). They found their solution from Amprius Technologies in Fremont, California.
In July, BAE flew its PHASA-35 - which was designed by the company's Alton, U.K.-based subsidiary Prismatic Ltd. - from Spaceport America in New Mexico, flying in the White Sands Missile Range, and are sponsored by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Technical Center. This test flight at White Sands Missile Range was coordinated and directly supported by personnel attached to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, Detachment White Sands.
The PHASA-35 crossed an altitude of more than 66,000 feet, reaching the stratosphere. As a High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) vehicle, the PHASA-35, which stands for Persistent High Altitude Solar Aircraft, is powered by the Sun during the day and by batteries overnight. Amprius' long-life battery and highly efficient solar technology allow the aircraft to potentially maintain flight for up to a year, operating in the upper regions of Earth’s atmosphere. The novel aero structure design and advanced solar technology make PHASA-35 a novel aircraft.
"This is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved and shows the commitment of BAE Systems to invest in new technologies and markets. PHASA-35’s first stratospheric flight demonstrates that this vehicle is on track to become the go-to system for long endurance, high altitude and communications applications in the future, Prismatic Ltd. CEO Dave Corfield says. "The successful trials are a testament to the hard work of the fantastic team that we have built over the last couple of years within Prismatic and across our partner companies including Piran, Amprius, Microlink, Honeywell, PMW Dynamics and the Met Office. I look forward to the next steps as we develop this unique system."
Cliff Robson, group managing director for BAE Systems Air Sector says, "PHASA-35 is breaking new ground - opening up the stratosphere to new possibilities. The team, which brings together BAE Systems’ know-how from across the globe with innovative solar and power management technologies, demonstrated tremendous commitment and ambition as they tackled the challenges associated with novel technologies and approaches. This partnership approach is key to our ability to enhance our defence expertise with new thinking and technologies."