ARCA develops high-performance unmanned aircraft

ARCA develops high-performance unmanned aircraft

Air Strato - the first prototype of a high-performance unmanned aircraft, is finalized and is ready for tests, informs the Romanian Association for Cosmonautics and Aeronautics (ARCA), the developer of this aircraft.

According to a Wednesday's release for AGERPRES, the aircraft is part of a larger family of automated planes that will carry out various missions for the ARCA and its partners.

Air Strato is the largest version, with a wingspan of 16 m, and it is intended for stratospheric flight at an altitude of 18 km.

The aircraft is powered by electric motors and has a range of seven hours using only its internal batteries and three days using solar panels.

It can carry a payload of 30 kg at the said altitude, the equipment varying depending on the mission. The equipment can be replaced with additional containers of batteries for missions lasting longer.

Prototype No. 2 is under construction and it will have retractable undercarriage and improved avionics.

The second version of Air Strato will have a smaller wingspan, a lower flight level, but higher speed and payload.

"Our activities, but also our partners' ones, require stratospheric flights and the solar balloons with helium that we have used so far, although they can fly higher with bigger payloads, are more expensive and dependent on weather conditions and the air safety areas allocated. Air Strato can take over several missions, much cheaper. It will ease our aerospace activity, and will also expand and capabilities a lot," said the ARCA President Dumitru Popescu.

After the successful completion of the tests, the ARCA will provide also a commercial version which will be available in Romania only to the private sector.

The ARCA, headquartered in Ramnicu Valcea, is a non-governmental organization that promotes aerospace projects and other projects related to space.

The ARCA is running Romania's Space Programme (2012-2025), which is aimed at developing a rocket engine, finalizing the transport supersonic aircraft for the rocket Haas II, participating in specialist competition Google Lunar X Prize, as well as at launching a cosmonaut on the orbit by 2025.