Long endurance for unmanned aircraft is being transformed, with 100 hr.—five days aloft—as the new yardstick against which future systems are being measured. Qinetiq’s solar-powered Zephyr has already blown through that barrier, flying for more than 336 hr.—but carrying only a 6-lb. payload. The challenge is to carry the heavy payload of a Reaper or Global Hawk on missions measured in days. Now Aurora Flight Systems is to build an unmanned aircraft that can stay aloft for 120 hr. at ...

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