from the April 2007 issue

Israel develops futuristic fuel cell powered aircraft

Three aircraft under development by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have the potential to revolutionize civilian and military aviation in the coming decade. The aircraft are: an unmanned cargo plane that can carry a payload of up to 30 tons; a solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) capable of conducting long-range surveillance; and an environmentally friendly inter-city aircraft powered by innovative fuel cells. All three are being developed in conjunction with the European Union and a number of global aerospace companies. The first flight test of the Enfica-FC - Environmentally Friendly Inter-City Aircraft powered by Fuel Cells - will be held in a year and a half; IAI has put up 700,000 of the project's 4.2 million cost. The 10-seater aircraft's fuel cells will reduce noise and damage to the environment. IAI is interested in the innovative use of fuel cells, an alternative energy source that could one day also be applied to military aircraft. The third aircraft with revolutionary potential under development by IAI is the Sun Sailor, a solar-powered UAV that weighs four kilograms and is capable of carrying a small digital camera for military surveillance missions. It was developed in conjunction with students from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report April 2007

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