Martin and LaserMotive, Inc. have completed a series of flight tests of
the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to further validate the
performance of an innovative laser power system. These tests mark the
first-ever outdoor flight of a UAS powered by laser.
is a small, silent UAS used by Special Operations Forces since 2006 to
perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. In a
recent wind tunnel test, the UAS demonstrated 48 hours of continuous
flight powered by this innovative laser system.
series of proof-of-concept tests took place in a remote desert location
where environmental factors like wind and heat were constants. Not only
did we demonstrate that the laser powered Stalker could perform well in
this type of environment, we flew during both day and night without
incident,” said Tom Koonce, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Stalker program
manager. “Ultimately we hope to provide our customers with remarkably
long endurance to extend and expand the mission profiles possible for a
small UAS like Stalker.”
the demonstration, the Stalker was fitted with a lightweight
photovoltaic receiver and on-board power management hardware. The
ground-based laser transmitter was based on LaserMotive’s hardware
developed for its winning entry in the 2009 NASA Centennial Challenge.
Accomplishments of these proof-of-concept flights include:
- Demonstrated net positive power to Stalker in flight, at ranges up to 600 meters.
that the laser did not damage the Stalker and that the addition of the
laser receiver did not impact its normal flight operations or
multiple test flights in a range of desert conditions (day and night,
high temperatures, and strong winds), demonstrating the ruggedness of
the Stalker-mounted laser receiver power system.
beam director tracked the receiver for long periods, with centimeter
accuracy at 500 meters, despite turbulence and aircraft maneuvers.
- Met all operational and safety requirements, including coordination with the Laser Clearinghouse and flight operations.
excited to work with Lockheed Martin to validate the ability of lasers
to power Stalker in the field,” said Tom Nugent, president of
LaserMotive. “Wireless power via laser is an important emerging
technology, and I look forward to continuing to work together to further
prove this technology in future experiments.”
Source: Lockheed Martin