Article Image

IPFS News Link • Energy

Wireless Power Network Could Maintain Drone Air Dominance for Years

•, by Brian Wang

Years of flight could become possible. Swarms of drones would be have the power to stay over entire states or countries indefinitely. The multi-year electrical drones could also act as ultra-low flying alternatives to satellites.

The goal of the POWER program is to design and demonstrate airborne optical energy relays. The principal technical challenges will be to develop and demonstrate a payload capable of redirecting optical energy transmissions, correcting wavefronts to maximize beam quality at each relay, and selectively harvesting energy for platform power. Energy will be shifted in a matter of seconds or minutes, enabling them to pivot capability near instantaneously without reconfiguring supply lines.

1) 200 km transmission range (measured between ground sites)
2) 10kW of laser energy delivered to the final ground node if using the 50kW source laser (assuming 50% conversion efficiency this equates to the program goal of 5kW of electric power, ground receiver or measurement device will be provided by the government team)
3) Transmission through 3 airborne relay nodes
4) At least 1kW of throttlable energy harvesting simultaneously at each of the three airborne nodes.

The designs will be subject to the following constraints:
1) All system apertures less than 1 meter diameter
2) Demonstration system compatible with existing airframes
3) Compatible with operations at high altitude (60kft or higher) to minimize atmospheric losses.