Spy Plane That Stays Aloft For 5 Years

According to Flight Global, DARPA is close to awarding a contract tobuild an unmanned aircraft that can stay in the air for up to 5 yearsat a time. DARPA describes the "Vulture" project as a "persistentpseudo-satellite capability in an aircraft package." In other words,the aircraft can hover over a single area, narcing, communicating, orsurveying for years at a time. As with most lofty goals, there are major obstacles to contend with.First and foremost, the designers are going to have to figure out howto power such an aircraft over the course of these long missions. Oh,and it will have to do it while carrying a 1000 pound payload in thefearsome winds at a 60,000—90,000 feet. No problem right? As for thedesign, the Vulture will most likely draw on NASA designs like the onepictured above, but there is no definitive time table on when we mightactually see a working craft.

Source: gizmodo.comAdded: 2 April 2008