Ascent Solar Technologies Inc said Wednesday it has agreed to provide its thin-film photovoltaic modules for an energy efficient unmanned aerial vehicle being developed by Bye Aerospace.
The solar firm, based in Thornburg, Colorado, said in a statement today that Bye Aerospace has no contract for the airplane but that initial meetings are being conducted with U.S. government entities, according to CNET.
The hybrid un-crewed aircraft called the Silent Sentinel, utilizes stored electric power, thin film solar photovoltaics, and other technologies to enhance its endurance, quiet operations and low emissions. Bye Aerospace, the aircraft designer, will couple it with a Williams International FJ33 turbofan engine.
The H-UAV will be designed primarily for military use including border patrol, search and rescue, visual and thermal reconnaissance, and forward air control. However it has potential civil applications such as traffic control, pipeline and power line inspection, aerial law enforcement, forest fire detection and aerial photography, the companies said in a statement.
This is not the first time solar technology has been employed with these types of projects. British defense contractor Qinetiq and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) office of the U.S. Department of Defense, have also utilized solar panels in unmanned aircraft.