NRL Demonstrates Fuel Cell-Powered Unmanned Aerial System


11/29/2005 - 59-05r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541


Related Visuals

The Naval Research Laboratory, in collaboration with industrial partners, demonstrated an unmanned aerial system (UAS) flight solely powered by fuel cell technology. The flight of the 5.6-pound 'Spider-Lion" lasted 3 hours, 19 minutes and consumed 15-grams of compressed hydrogen gas.

The project is a joint venture between NRL's Chemistry and Tactical Electronic Warfare Divisions and Protonex Technology Corporation. The flight was conducted with L3-BAI Aerosystems at their Ragged Island facility on Maryland's Eastern Shore under weather conditions of 65oF, moderate winds, and light rain at takeoff.

The 100-watt fuel cell system was designed and constructed at NRL largely using commercially available hardware and a fuel cell stack and components developed by Protonex. The "Spider-Lion" UAS was developed by NRL as a high-impact research platform for testing fuel cell technology. Research and development continues aimed at developing a fuel cell system capable of powering small military platforms currently in the field or in advanced development stages requiring extended operation that is not achievable using current battery technology.







About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,800 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Comment policy: We hope to receive submissions from all viewpoints, but we ask that all participants agree to the Department of Defense Social Media User Agreement. All comments are reviewed before being posted.