Drone America is committed to pushing the boundaries of UAS technologies not only for our clients but for the betterment of humanity. We are also committed to ensuring that the products we make have as minimal an impact on the environment as possible. To achieve our goal and vision, we have been quietly working on Project Andreis over the past two years.
The first prototype vehicle was our Phoebus Mk.III large UAS aircraft, which introduced a twin engine, highly-reliable and adaptable UAS platform with a Maximum Take-off Weight (MTOW) of 500 lbs. The large payload capacity allowed the large aircraft to be fitted with more than one sensor or payload at a time, allowing multiple facets of a mission to be carried out simultaneously.
Although this airframe would not be used in the production of the final high altitude aircraft, it allowed our engineers to define future capabilities, identifying new and emerging technologies for a Drone America high altitude aircraft.
The final solar craft is being designed to operate at altitudes of up to 65,000 ft. It will be powered by lithium-ion batteries that are recharged by energy provided by solar cells which will be integrated into the flight surfaces. Fully autonomous operations that include take-off and landing operations are controlled by an on board autopilot that continuously transmits telemetry back to the ground station via on board high speed data links.
Further information and system specifications will be released as this project progresses, our target is to have initial flight trials fall of 2017.