Together with CATIC, MMC, the drone manufacturer, unveiled the HyDrone 1800 at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2017) taking place at the Abu Dhabi national exhibition center. It represents the next generation of its hydrogen technology and the firms said it is designed for the military.
The carbon-fiber HyDrone 1800 is an almost indestructible aircraft. Designed for use in the toughest conditions, the drone is wind-resistant, rain-resistant, cold-resistant and still incredibly lightweight. The HyDrone 1800’s hydrogen fuel cell technology is its most notable feature and, according to MMC, provides a flight endurance of 4 hours or of a remarkable 50+ hours when combined with MMC tethered technology. The endurance of the hydrogen drone changes the scope of applications: most military or industrial drones currently on the market are limited by flight times of under 1 hour. HyDrone 1800 achieves the extended flight time while maintaining altitude limits of 4500 meters – competitive or better than other similar sized aircraft – and a payload capacity of up to 5kg.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is a breakthrough for drones. The technology is an environmentally friendly solution towards a drone industry bottleneck: flight endurance. Constructed for safety and durability, an auxiliary lithium battery starts the fuel cell and provides a backup source of power for the drone. The properties of hydrogen fuel not only allow for extraordinary flight time, but extend the ideal temperature range for operation. Hydrogen drones can be flown in extreme temperatures – from -10 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.
“This technology is the next step forward for military grade drones,” says MMC’s founder Lu Zhi Hui. “It’s safe, it’s effective, it’s proven – and the endurance is unmatched by other power sources. ”
Payloads can be changed quickly and easily. Operators may choose from payloads including a thermal imaging camera, low light camera, laser equipment, or zoom camera; making the system ideal for many military applications. HyDrone 1800 can be used for intelligence gathering, border patrol, aerial fire support, laser designation, or battle management services to tactical military operators. MMC also offers packaged solutions in target acquisition and reconnaissance technology (ISTAR).