Protonex will complete this work under an awarded $3.3 million contract from the Department of Defense, and will draw on continuing developments by Protonex of its unmanned power systems and UAV technologies.
Under the terms of this contract, Protonex will customize one of its fuel cell power platforms and will integrate it into a Puma-AE UAV provided by development partner AeroVironment. The resulting UAV is expected to enable new long-duration missions, not previously feasible with hand-launched UAVs powered by advanced batteries.
Protonex has already demonstrated its fuel cell systems for small UAVs through programs with the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory and AeroVironment. Last year AeroVironment’s Puma UAV, utilizing a Protonex fuel cell system, flew continuously for more than 9 h – three to four times the endurance capability of its current rechargeable batteries.