Sometimes technology just boggles the mind,

  Forum Editor 12:30 25 Aug 2008

and this technology boggles mine:

click here

An 18 metre wingspan plane that weighs 30 kilos, is powered by Lithium sulphur batteries and solar panels as thin as a sheet of paper. It can fly for three days eleven miles above the earth's surface in temperatures as low as minus 70C.

It's guided by ground computers and satellite fixes. It's simply amazing, and it was developed and built here in the good old UK.

  Si_L 12:47 25 Aug 2008

UK-built but was a demonstration for the US military, hmmm.

Agreed, thats a fantastic bit of kit there, I was amazed to find that it cruises higher than concorde.

  Bingalau 13:09 25 Aug 2008

I've got a funny feeling that this aircraft or one like it is already in use by the military.

  peter99co 13:22 25 Aug 2008

The plane you refer to can carry the same cameras has the Skynet5 and at 100 time less cost. It has been found that with a radar camera there is a chance of finding water under the deserts in Darfor. (already used and succesfull in the sahara desert)

A drone used by the military has been used by the farmers to see where fertilizer is required in the fields

The sky is the place to be in the future.

  Forum Editor 13:30 25 Aug 2008

"A drone used by the military has been used by the farmers to see where fertilizer is required in the fields"

I have worked with farmers on the computer side of this technology, but with satellite imagery. In one case I set up a system whereby a Kent farmer is automatically notified when a particular section of a field needs attention. The system even tells him which particular fertilizer to apply.

  spuds 13:32 25 Aug 2008

Military secrets perhaps click here

  Forum Editor 13:37 25 Aug 2008

That site is a conspiracy theorist's dream if ever I saw one.

  interzone55 13:47 25 Aug 2008

Drones like this can be used to provide emergency cellular communications after disasters.

At the moment NGO's like Telecoms Sans Frontiers click here have to use expensive satellite phones during recovery periods immediately following disasters. If they can launch a small solar powered drone to act as a relay station they don't need to lug satellite dishes a temporary masts to remote, dangerous places.

btw Bingalau, the US military drones are not as good as this new one - they're either as capable, but bigger, or smaller but without the extended flying time...

  peter99co 14:01 25 Aug 2008

A programme on BBC 3 or 4 last night was about Skynet but included footage of this plane and was well worth seeing if repeated. I only felt it (the drone) would not enjoy high winds and must be hell to make it go upwind. Pop it up into the get stream and watch it go.

  Forum Editor 14:11 25 Aug 2008

say that this is just the beginning - they are aiming to develop this aircraft over the next two years to the point where it will stay aloft for months. They're also working with Boeing to develop a plane for the American defence department that will stay up over the same location for a minimum of five years.

  TopCat® 16:14 25 Aug 2008

interested in this promising development. The Common Agriculture Policy payments to some farmers in member states have allegedly in the past been fraudulently obtained by farmers falsifying their claims. These claims had been submitted for crop yields and for land acreage in use that had never seen a seed or a plough for years. The amount paid out on this alleged fraud wasn't chicken feed either.

A few of these 'high fliers' loitering around overhead in certain areas would be able to provide foolproof evidence in any member country areas under suspicion. TC.

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