Laser powered UAV completes outdoor flight test
PALMDALE, Calif., 8 Aug. 2012. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] and LaserMotive, Inc., a research and development company specializing in wireless power via laser for commercial applications., have completed a series of flight tests of the Stalker unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to validate the performance of a laser power system. These tests were performed outdoors powered by laser.
-- DARPA selects Lockheed Martin for Airborne Launch Assist Space Access program
-- Lockheed Martin to produce counterfire radars for Army
-- Army and Lockheed Martin prepare for production of advanced laser-guided Hellfire missile
The series of proof-of-concept tests took place in a remote desert location where environmental factors like wind and heat were constants. These tests demonstrated that the laser powered Stalker could perform in an outdoor environment. Flights were conducted in both day and night.
For the demonstration, the Stalker was fitted with a lightweight photovoltaic receiver and on-board power management hardware. The ground-based laser transmitter was based on LaserMotive’s hardware developed for its winning entry in the 2009 NASA Centennial Challenge.
The tests showed the Stalker receives power at ranges of up to 600 meters, as well as that the laser does not damage the Stalker or impact normal flight operations. It also demonstrated that the laser power system can survive in high temperatures and in windy conditions, and showed the accuracy of the beam director when tracking the receiver.