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Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

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Timmymagic
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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby Timmymagic » 11 Dec 2016, 21:35

Spinflight wrote:Stabilised optics looking 300 miles? Not if there's cloud, haze, shimmer etc. Even if there isn't zoomed in that far it would be a needle in a haystack.


It's optics clearly aren't going to be good for 300 miles. What I meant was at 65,000 feet it has clear LOS back to a ship from over 300 miles away. Besides if it can pickup a windscreen wiper on a lorry from 12 miles up with good visibility it's going to pick up a ship at 60 miles slant range easily. How many of our ship borne helicopters can actually fly 300 miles then conduct a search? None.

Clearly a radar on such a small, 20kg, payload ain't going to be a Searchwater (although Searchwater only weighs 50kg, power demands rule it out for the foreseeable). Thales iMaster as mounted on the Watchkeeper is 30kg and has a published range against vehicles and infantry of 20km, power would still be an issue.But by the time Zephyr T is operational where will we be then? The UK has a world renowned reputation for building small, power efficient remote sensing apparatus, partly due to it's military heritage, but principally due to satellite and probe payloads (and the SSTL micro satellites). And at £3m a pop you can put 10 up for the cost of 1 Merlin. And they'll be up there 24/7 whereas the Merlin would struggle to be airborne for 12 hrs in 24, and thats if you pushed the boat out, and it's completely unsustainable. As a supporting asset it could be fantastic, and at the sort of cost that doesn't break our bank.

As to survivability how many SAM systems, ship borne or land based, actually have the ability to intercept at 65,000 feet? There aren't many fighters that can tote a war load that high or even to 50,000 feet.

Spinflight wrote:Elint? Poshibly, though having to design satellite quality weight reduction technologies for a cheap platform doesn't make sense.

Radar? How much power do you think they'll be putting out? It'll me measured more in milliwatts than watts.


Already happening. The Airbus site lists NIIRS 8 imagery, Radar, Lidar, ESM/Elint and Broadband Comms. We also know that some of the payloads (Radar, Imagery and Comms) are already under development. But realistically we're about 10 years away from operational use. With the pace of development in battery technology, photovoltaic's and UAV payloads at present there is a whole load of work that Zephyr can leverage off. If the pace of development continues in 10 years there could be a more powerful variant than the T capable of carrying all of those payloads simultaneously.

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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby Spinflight » 12 Dec 2016, 09:27

Yes but I remain skeptical that thin skin photovoltaics are going to provide enough useful power. So too with batteries which tend to heavy.

The only analogy is satellite systems given the weight constraints, which aren't cheap and don't have to cope with the same operating environment.

I suppose my concern is one of turning a cheap and useful system into an expensive and not much more useful one.

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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 12 Dec 2016, 10:38

Spinflight wrote:remain skeptical that thin skin photovoltaics are going to provide enough useful power. So too with batteries which tend to heavy.

- hydrogen?
- dont know; would seem to suit the bill

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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby shark bait » 12 Dec 2016, 12:02

The solar panels are there so it can refuel every day, can't do that with hydrogen.

The panels have a big area, which are lifted above the weather, and provide enough power for some low power sensors. It's not going to be powering any ASTOR system, but that's not the intention.
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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 12 Dec 2016, 16:17

shark bait wrote:so it can refuel every day, can't do that with hydrogen.


I understand that, for the functions that are drawing (on energy/ electricity) slowly, but steadily.
- howabout for retaining orbit?

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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby Timmymagic » 09 Jun 2017, 14:01

Looks like the Chinese may have hacked QinetiQ like they did Lockheed for the F-35...


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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby Spinflight » 04 Aug 2017, 04:23

"It's not going to be powering any ASTOR system, but that's not the intention"

Quite, the intention will be to stick a bowman set persistent at angels 65.

Which might not sound as exciting as lidar etc but is rather bloody useful.

Sent from my LG-H815 using Tapatalk

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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 04 Aug 2017, 08:25

shark bait wrote:The solar panels are there so it can refuel every day, can't do that with hydrogen.


Hmm, are you sure? And how do you cope with those hours when the earth is "in the way"... of the sun? The good news is : 65 kft is still not totally devoid of oxygen. A both-and solution?

"Hydrogen fuel cells [...] use hydrogen mixed with oxygen to produce energy with a by-product of water. In the case of Intelligent Energy’s Upp it uses a replaceable hydrogen cell to charge mobiles, smartphones, tablets or whatever needs power, delivered at the same speed as a wall charger.

Initially the Upp [the product name for commercialisation] will launch in Africa as a means of providing sustainable, eco-friendly power. One hydrogen cell will provide five full charges of a mobile phone (25Wh capacity per cell). And the only by-product produced is water vapour. A USB type A socket means it will charge most USB devices with a 5V, 5W, 1000mA output."
- bad news: hydrogen will eat into the payload
- good news: the persistent drones will only need a pee-hole to get rid of the by-product

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Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Jensy » 15 Mar 2018, 01:04

Airbus (formerly QinetiQ) Zephyr High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS)

Image

Something that has irritated me by it's ambiguity (and lack of a decent press release) is where exactly the future Zephyr UAV/HAPS we have on order are going to be manufactured.

As I understand the initial models were built by QinetiQ at their Farnborough R&D site, before the project was taken over by Airbus.

Whilst watcing this week's PMQs I heard the following raised

Leo Docherty (Aldershot) (Con)
Q12. In my constituency, Farnborough, in the borough of Rushmoor, is the birthplace of British aviation and is now home to a thriving range of aviation, aerospace and defence businesses—including Airbus, with its Zephyr. Will my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister join me in extending our best wishes to the Zephyr team as they look forward to making a world-record-breaking attempt for high altitude unmanned aviation? [904371]

The Prime Minister
I am very happy to join my hon. Friend in wishing all the very best to the Zephyr team in the attempt that they are making. He is right that his constituency plays a crucial role in the aerospace industry. I am pleased to say that we are continuing to work with that industry through the aerospace growth partnership to ensure that we can further enhance the industry. We wish the Zephyr team well.


Can this this be taken a confirmation that first, they are being built at Farnborough Airport, and secondly that we now have the potential to export a fairly advanced and unique platform to some of our peers and allies?

Jensy


P.S This is my first ever topic post, please let me know I should have posted a WIki on background info?

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 15 Mar 2018, 05:52

Thx for bringing them back onto the radar screen. The initial order is limited in number as the payload is so restricted and their is an expectation that a bigger model will be ordered (in due course)
- which, potentially, could give two different places as (an answer) for where they are/ will be manufactured

However, even a small payload can help with "satellite-like" beyond straight line communications - at a much reduced cost.

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Timmymagic » 15 Mar 2018, 08:02

Jensy wrote:P.S This is my first ever topic post, please let me know I should have posted a WIki on background info?


There's a pretty detailed thread on Zephyr over in the Joint section

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=358

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Re: UK MoD To Acquire High-Flying Zephyr 8 UAVs

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 15 Mar 2018, 10:10

As per timmymagic, let's continue here with updates (I had already forgotten that it was this forum, for the earlier discussions):

The initial order was limited in number as the payload is so restricted and there is an expectation that a bigger model will be ordered (in due course)
- which, potentially, could give two different places as (an answer to the question posed on the newly started thread) for where they are/ will be manufactured

However, even a small payload can help with "satellite-like" beyond straight line communications - at a much reduced cost.

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 15 Mar 2018, 11:42

As Timmymagic mentioned, there's a topic for Zephyr already. I'll go ahead and merge the two topics. :)

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby PapaGolf » 15 Mar 2018, 12:59

I'd say it's more likely the work will be transferred away from Farnborough and the MP is trying to get the a positive endorsement from the PM making it more difficult to cut the work in the future. Too cynical?

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Jensy » 15 Mar 2018, 15:21

Apologies, went through all the RAF topics. Didn't know about this thread.

PapaGolf wrote:I'd say it's more likely the work will be transferred away from Farnborough and the MP is trying to get the a positive endorsement from the PM making it more difficult to cut the work in the future. Too cynical?


I got an element of that from the phrasing of the question.

From memory there are few if any remaining faciities down there to set up a full-scale production line.

All private aviation hangars and the show site.

Jensy

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Timmymagic » 15 Mar 2018, 21:53

Jensy wrote:gies, went through all the RAF topics. Didn't know about this thread.


Nothing to be sorry for at all. Personally I think its one of the most exciting defence projects in years, thats if we get behind it.

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby SKB » 16 Mar 2018, 00:39


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Jensy
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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Jensy » 20 Mar 2018, 08:35

Great video SKB!

I think some of the remote sensors going into modern mini/micro sats could really turn these into ideal 'eye's in the sky'.

Beyond combat roles, these could revolutionise disaster and humanitarian response, without the need to stick something in Low Earth Orbit, and the costs that entails.

Jensy

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Timmymagic » 16 Jul 2018, 16:17


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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Timmymagic » 16 Jul 2018, 16:18

Zephyr S on its maiden flight today....not a bad height to hit...


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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby NickC » 16 Jul 2018, 18:40

If understand correctly the Airbus ZEPHYR S High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) will base production at its new operating site at Wyndham airfield in Western Australia, chosen as the first launch and recovery site for the ZEPHYR UAV due mainly to its largely unrestricted airspace and reliable weather.  The site will be operational from September 2018.

From <https://www.monch.com/mpg/news/air/3795-fia-airbus-zephyr.html>

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Ron5 » 16 Jul 2018, 19:29

Timmymagic wrote:https://twitter.com/AirbusDefence/status/1018825288594182144


But where is it? Airbus seems to have gone to great lengths not to publish its whereabouts.

Maybe not in the UK. So another example of UK taxpayer money being spent abroad?

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby SKB » 16 Jul 2018, 19:31

It's somewhere sunny. It's solar powered afterall. :mrgreen:

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Timmymagic » 16 Jul 2018, 20:26

SKB wrote:It's somewhere sunny. It's solar powered afterall.


It's flying in Arizonoa. Future flights will be in Australia.

Not sure where the production facility is, I think its more omission rather than design, I think its in the UK.

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Re: Airbus Zephyr - HAPS

Postby Ron5 » 16 Jul 2018, 23:59

Timmymagic wrote:
SKB wrote:It's somewhere sunny. It's solar powered afterall.


It's flying in Arizonoa. Future flights will be in Australia.

Not sure where the production facility is, I think its more omission rather than design, I think its in the UK.


I spent 10 minutes on google and couldn't find out where their new production facility was located. Very odd.

Yes, it's flying at Yuma AZ, just up the road from me, and the same place the prototype flew when it was a Qinetiq project. Before it was sold to the French. Monsoon season here tho, not so many sunny days.


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