DENVER, Colorado – June 28, 2016 – Bye Aerospace’s concept for a high-altitude long-endurance solar-electric aircraft called “StratoAirNet” was recently demonstrated in the Advanced Concepts Event, 2015 (ACE15), at the Air Force Research Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.
ACE is the USAF’s Distributed Mission Operations experimentation war game designed to demonstrate multiple technology concepts for military operations. Participants included Army, Air Force and Navy representatives and defense systems contractor personnel from multiple locations throughout the United States. The ACE event provides researchers the opportunity to simultaneously operate their conceptual innovations in a virtual battlefield and obtain feedback on their results from operational warfighters. This type of virtual war gaming provides a foundation for taking a concept to final product development for real-world battlefield applications.
George Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, said the StratoAirNet unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is intended to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to support defense and government security requirements. During the ACE15 exercise, a fleet of simulated StratoAirNet’s flew virtually and performed a picket line defensive mission flying at 52,000 feet utilizing an L-Band radar. They were able to successfully detect all manned aircraft flying within their designated patrol area.
“The StratoAirNet thus proved of high value in not only extending the reach of theater of battle early warning and detection capabilities, but also in providing a system with the potential for significant cost saving in acquisition, operations and maintenance costs,” said John Primbs, Lt Col USAFR(Ret), former Chief Engineer, Technology Transformation Directorate, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, LAFB. Lt.Col. Primbs, a subject matter expert on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations, flight test, and maintenance, was the ACE15 StratoAirNet project manager for Bye Aerospace.
Bye said the initial solar-electric UAV prototype, called “StratoAirNet 15,” is nearing completion and undergoing final assembly for upcoming ground and flight tests. “We believe our StratoAirNet family of UAVs will eventually have the capability to fly with almost unlimited flight endurance using solar-electric propulsion technology,” he said.
Other potential commercial mission applications for StratoAirNet include communications relay, search and rescue, firefighting command and control, anti-poaching monitoring, damage assessment, severe weather tracking, agriculture monitoring, mineral source surveying, spill detection and infrastructure quality assessment.