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EIAST launches HAPS aircraft

The HAPS system can fly in the stratosphere at 65,600 feet above air traffic

EIAST has launched the Advanced Aerial Systems Program which aims to develop UAE capabilities in the fields of designing, manufacturing and operating advanced aerial systems in line with EIAST’s mission to develop advanced science and technology across the UAE.

The first project in the program is the joint-development of the High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) system in partnership with Airbus DS. The HAPS system uses solar power to fly above the weather to provide persistent presence for a range of applications. HAPS has demonstrated the ability to fly for over two weeks, ten times longer than any other Unmanned Aerial system (UAS). The system combines benefits of a satellite and an aircraft in terms of re-usability and coverage.

The HAPS system can fly in the stratosphere at 65,600 feet above air traffic, making it a robust system to handle various applications. The payloads on the system can be changed on the ground to fit with different applications. Some of these include thermal imaging, full-HD video imaging, creating temporary communication networks and strengthening navigation systems. The first generation of the aircraft is projected to go into operation by the end of 2016.

Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of EIAST said: “The project represents a milestone for EIAST and is a new achievement that will support efforts to create a culture of applied research and development driven by advanced technologies and innovation. We recognise the value of developing a world-class technical platform, which falls in line with achieving the UAE’s Vision 2021 of a competitive Knowledge Economy.”