As drone technology continues to advance and heighten security concerns, Australian tech developer Orbital Corporation (ASX: OEC) has initiated a UAV flight program targeting 300 hours of data, in collaboration with wholly-owned Boeing subsidiary Insitu Pacific.
The program is being conducted at Insitu’s Queensland facility where Orbital’s propulsion systems will be key to extending the flight time capabilities of UAV’s – unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Our flight program with Insitu Pacific expands our capability to fast track flight hour development and validation – gathering valuable data in real world conditions,” said Orbita CEO, Todd Alder.
“These flights test the limits of our engines and highlight opportunities where we can continuously improve our products – increasing reliability and field serviceability to ensure we are providing propulsion systems that set the benchmark for performance.”
The collaboration between Orbital and Insitu sees the implementation of Orbital’s propulsion systems integrated into Insitu’s ScanEagle® platform. Improved flight times will be critical to flexibility and versatility to adapt to end-user requirements and for the rapid deployment of drones in tactical situations.
The current capabilities of tactical UAV’s is a maximum flight time of 24 hours at a max altitude of 20,000 ft. This comes at a cost of between $2.5 – $4 million each and is estimated that more than $80 billion will be spent on UAV production over the next decade.
“Insitu Pacific has been flight testing its own unique payload designs and customer deliveries for the past 10 years,” said Insitu Pacific Managing Director, Andrew Duggan.
“However, the activity with Orbital UAV is contributing important new performance and life-cycle data for the ScanEagle® product line for Insitu globally and is supporting our continuous drive to innovate and define leading unmanned aircraft systems into the next decade.”