Startup Stratospheric Platforms (Great Britain) and Northrop Grumman (USA) create a stratospheric unmanned aerial vehicle operating on hydrogen fuel. This is, as the Aviation Week edition specifies, something like a “flying cell tower”.
The hydrogen drone with two engines, designed for stratospheric flights, will be able to provide 5G coverage up to 140 kilometers in diameter. It is assumed that the device will allow mobile operators to expand their subscriber base, saving on the construction of new towers.
The new device is a high-glider with a V-shaped tail, the wingspan of which will be sixty meters. The mass of the prospective drone will reach three and a half tons. The device, the first flight of which is scheduled for 2022, will be able to fly at an altitude of about 18 kilometers for 9 days.
Detailed specifications of the UAV from Stratospheric Platforms and Northrop Grumman are not yet available, but it is known that the device is a development of ideas that have already been tested on a modified high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft Grob G 520, which experts equipped with a 4G transmitter. The aircraft was tested at an altitude of more than 13.5 kilometers, transmitting data at speeds of 20-70 mbps.