The Boomerang unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Bluebird Aero Systems and Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies (which they are calling an Unmanned Aerial System or UAS) is the first commercial aircraft of this to be powered by commercial hydrogen fuel cells.
In the past I’ve talked about several other non-commercial UAV’s such as the Navy’s Ion Tiger that can stay aloft for 24 hours or the University of Michigan Endurance UAV which stayed in flight for over 10 hours to capture a record.
But, the commercial Boomerang can also stay aloft a respectable 9 hours using the Aeropak 2kg hydrogen fuel cell power pack. According to Horizon, “Horizon’s new fuel cell system also makes it possible to increase the capability of smaller and lower cost aircraft by integrating more power draining electronic devices, such as electro-optical sensors, infrared cameras and laser designators.”
Built as primarily a military vehicle the Boomerang UAV will engage in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions that require long range and long flight times between refueling.
The new 900Wh fuel cell power pack can deliver up to 300 percent longer flight endurance that similar models in regard to size, stealth capabilities and payload.