Energize in the air. Planes and helicopters are capable of this, and Darpa wants to carry out this in-flight refueling with a laser beam on board under the wings of a refueling plane in order to recharge the batteries of the drones.
Maintain thein the air by recharging their batteries during their flight, here is the project of the American Darpa, the emerging technologies branch of the Pentagon. The new program called Airborne Energy Wells is to transform the in giant and flying chargers for electric drones.
Unlike planes and the companies that could be likely to equip the KC-135 and KC-46 tankers of the Air Force with a pod equipped with this underwing laser power supply. The power of this laser could peak at 100 kilowatts. In addition to this nacelle, a thermal control system that would enclose the laser device would be housed in the cabin of the tanker. By offering the possibility of recharging the in addition to increasing their Darpa also intends to relieve them of batteries so that they can be a little more versatile and carry more or weapons.which require connecting to the tanker to fill up with fuel, could be recharged via a beam . The DARPA
Remote laser recharge test conducted by US Navy research labs in 2019. © USNRL
High-power long-range charging
Recharge ain flight is not an easy task and the Darpa knows it. The atmospheric and influence the power of the beams . The problems of thermal regulation of the laser system are also important, as well as the of the transmitter and the receiver. Work on laser reloading is not new to the United States Air Force.
From 2011, projects carried out by theon these systems have been undertaken. In recent years, remote charging tests have already taken place with 2 kilowatt lasers, which transmitted over a distance of about 300 meters. Today, Darpa is taking this ambition up a notch with research into a system capable of delivering 50 times more power over much greater transmission distances.