The The Agency for Tactical Technology of the Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects (DARPA) has published a request for information about Airborne Energy Well – a station for recharging drones in flight.
The request focuses on technologies to which existing air tankers could be adapted recharge unmanned aerial vehicle systems with a laser beam.
«This airborne energy well is a potential component of a wider energy grid for power generation, transmission and decision relays, allowing the Department of Defense to dynamically allocate energy resources to more flexibly provide a military effect, ”the request said. explains.
Refueling in flight is a common operation for modern military aircraft, and all major air forces exhibit large fleets of tankers that can transfer fuel to other aircraft. and expand their working range.
The U.S. military is currently in the process of being adopted KC-46 Pegasus, a tanker based on the Boeing 767. It is likely that new technology will be installed on this aircraft, as the old types of tankers – in particular Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker and McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender – are scheduled to be decommissioned in the foreseeable future .
So far most combat and reconnaissance drones used and developed for the U.S. military are jet or turboprop, the advent of electric aviation probably means that electric drones will play an increasingly important role for the U.S. and its allies.
In recent years, numerous experiments have been conducted on the transmission of energy by laser beams, including powering drones in a way that will greatly increase their flight time.
https://www.aerotime.aero/articles/31316-darpa-mulls-recharging-drones-wirelessly-using-lasers DARPA is considering wireless recharging of drones with lasers