BAE Systems is planning US-based flight trials in 2021 for its revolutionary stratospheric aircraft program that bridges the gap between air and space. The expected flight tests for the PHASA-35®, a 35-meter wingspan solar-electric stratospheric aircraft, follow its successful initial flight trial, along with critical functional and performance tests of the fully integrated aircraft and systems that demonstrated the principles of the payload architecture. Given its unique capabilities, PHASA-35 is moving closer to contributing to our U.S. defense customers’ objectives to operationalize the stratosphere.
The PHASA-35 high altitude, long endurance, uncrewed aerial vehicle (HALE UAV) has the potential to maintain flight for up to a year at a time, in the stratosphere, providing military and commercial customers with tools not currently available from existing air and space programs. PHASA-35 has a wide range of potential applications such as the delivery of ISR capabilities, 5G and other communications networks, as well as support to disaster relief and border protection.
“There is a strong, growing interest in PHASA-35’s capabilities across both the U.S. defense and commercial markets, and a number of prospective customer engagements are ongoing,” said Lisa Hand, VP/GM, BAE Systems Integrated Defense Solutions. “The U.S. is expected to be a significant market for PHASA-35. It is an incredible technology that will offer numerous mission-enabling capabilities across a wide U.S. Department of Defense and federal agency customer base. We are actively engaged with end-users to identify various payloads of interest and associated integration requirements. As a leading systems integrator, we are excited to continue to partner with our colleagues in the U.K. to deliver this technology and its capabilities to our customers. We are also looking forward to the next U.S.-based flight trials which are expected to occur in 2021.”
“Our goal is to support our warfighters by providing an advantage against adversaries,” said Ravi Ravichandran, Chief Technology Officer of BAE Systems Intelligence & Security. “With the convergence of many technologies and various challenging problems, we believe PHASA-35’s capabilities and endurance will strengthen execution of the mission.”
The aircraft’s long-life battery and highly efficient solar technology allow PHASA-35 to potentially maintain flight for up to a year operating in the stratosphere, the upper regions of the Earth’s atmosphere above the weather and conventional air traffic, and will plug the gap between aircraft and satellite technology. PHASA-35 is part of a collaboration between BAE Systems and Prismatic Ltd, a British technology subject matter expert. PHASA-35 offers a persistent and affordable alternative to satellites combined with the flexibility of an aircraft.
Read the press release on the completion of critical endurance trials.