Joint effort will increase operational envelope, utilizing advanced clean technology

Skydweller U.S. Inc., a subsidiary of Skydweller Aero Inc., a U.S.-Spanish aerospace company developing solar-powered aircraft for defense and commercial industries, announced it has been awarded a $14 million contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), in conjunction with U.S. Navy, to advance and integrate technologies in support of Skydweller’s development of its extreme-endurance, solar-powered aircraft. This effort will increase the aircraft’s operational envelope, enabling broad, global use, while improving mission reliability and system flexibility. 

“Furthering perpetual flight aircraft for solving next-generation government sensing and monitoring solutions is critical to national security. This collaboration will accelerate the development of our platform, providing a viable, carbon-neutral solution which expands the aircraft mission capabilities significantly,” said CEO Dr. Robert Miller. “This contract allows Skydweller to continue supporting the Department of Defense by addressing the current needs of our Combatant Commands and creating military-grade unmanned aerial systems that can operate safely and reliably at record endurance in various, changing environmental conditions.” 

The project’s primary objective is the development and integration of key hardware and software that leverage clean technology to increase efficiency and performance. The areas of focus are as follows: hydrogen fuel cells, a lightweight hydrogen storage system, advanced battery modules, and advanced mission management software. Once integration is complete, Skydweller will transition into ground and flight testing of these new technologies. 

In addition to hardware prototyping, the team will perform significant engineering, analysis, and modeling and simulation on several aspects of the system including airframe structural components, power system performance, mission control performance, and energy management.