DARPA is going to sign a contract to engineer an unmanned aircraft that would be able to remain in the air for continuous five years; that was a statement given by the officials of Flight Global. The representatives from DARPA gave it the name of “Vulture”. They characterized their creation by saying that it would be having pseudo-satellite features. The aircraft would be able fly over a specific area with full capabilities of communicating and performing analysis for continuous five years in a single flight.

There would be some barriers in the way of achieving this goal. One of them is to design the mechanism of supplying power to this aircraft during its continuous flight mission. One important thing to mention here is that this aircraft will carry a 1000 pound (450 kg) payload in fierce winds at the height of 60,000 to 90,000 feet.


The design of the aircraft would probably be as it shown in the picture; this design is developed by NASA. The work on project began but no specific time period is given by the authorities for the completion of the project.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hopes to totally change the concept of unmanned aviation and bring this aviation technology up to new levels. This new project of UAV -Unmanned Aircraft Vulture – is the part of their efforts in this regard.

“We want to completely change the paradigm of how we think of aircraft”.

This was said by Daniel Newman, who is designated as the project manager of this new Vulture project.

He also said,

“Aviation has a perfect record; we have never left one up there. We will attempt to break that record”.

This new creation would change the whole systematic arrangement of aircraft with its characteristics. Daniel Newman describes this thing in these words.

“The ability to “close the business case” on an aircraft that could be launched and then not maintained or brought home for five years would be a paradigm shift. We would no longer define an aircraft by the launch – recover – maintain – launch cycle,”

Besides the power supply problem scientists are also facing two more major problems in this project. One is aero-structural efficiency which should be maximized. Secondly since the aircraft would stay in air for a long time; it would definitely face the material deterioration problem during its long-period stratospheric flight. Engineers are working to solve both of these problems and doing continuous research work.

The aircraft works much like a satellite and not having orbital mechanics to operate it.

DARPA’s Wade Pulliam said,

“It could be positioned over the battle, at 65,000ft versus 260 miles”

He said that as the aircraft would have a look of satellite and would have stratospheric flight; this would upgrade communication capability with 65dB and also increase onboard sensor resolution to good enough extent.

In the past two to three decades technology has advanced and continues to advance in a rapid way; this momentum doesn’t seem to slow down and continuously speeding up. We are now entering into the world of possibilities from the world of imagination.

About Faheem Ejaz

Faheem Ijaz has written 24 post in this blog.

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