Warplanes: Flying Fuel Cells


August 29, 2006: Fuel cells are now available for UAVs. Fuel cells are a new battery technology that generates four or more times as much electricity per pound as current batteries. Light weight UAVs, from the micros (at under ten pounds) to those weighing two to three times as much, are often powered by batteries. Current batteries give these UAVs an endurance of 30-90 minutes. This is enough to give the users a tactical advantage, and the micro-UAVs have been particularly popular. But if you could keep one of those micro-UAVs up for three hours, instead of one hour, it would be a major, often life-saving, advantage.
Fuel cells have been just around the corner for over a decade, and that seemingly endless corner has finally been turned. While fuel cells are mainly intended for commercial applications, wartime demands typically give new technologies an opportunity to be developed and put to use more quickly, under more stressful conditions. This leads to more rapid development and adoption of the technology. Fuel cells are just another example of this. In the last few years, fuel cells have been introduced in several military applications, spurred in part by the higher levels of wartime spending.


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close