Ascent Solar begins PV panel supply for Silent Falcon craft

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Colarado, US, based Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI) has begun supply of photovoltaic panels for the solar wings of aircraft produced by Albuqerque-based Silent Falcon Unmanned Aircraft System Technologies (SFUAS).

SFUAS is gearing up to begin commercial production of its Silent Falcon craft.

ASTI is the development partner of SFUAS for the Silent Falcon project.

“Silent Falcon is the first solar-electric aircraft to enter commercial production,” John Brown, the president of SFUAS, has claimed.

Silent Falcon are small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUASes), made of composite materials with interchangeable wing configuration.

“Its solar wings, based on flexible, monolithically integrated CIGS photovoltaics, are performing well,” Joe Armstrong, the CTO of Ascent Solar, said.

SFUAS craft are designed for commercial, public safety and defense applications.

“Silent Falcon UAS has a large and growing military and international commercial market. Sales exceeding several hundred units per year are possible. Customers now have access to the capability of SFUAS for the first time,” George Bye, the chairman of Silent Falcon UAS and CEO of Bye Aerospace said.

SFUAS was created out of Bye Aerospace in 2010. The company began with a prototype electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and initial design work on solar electric hybrid propulsion.

In due course it developed the 30 pounder Silent Falcon which has all day flight endurance, supported by efficient aerodynamic design, lightweight composite construction and advanced solar energy collection.

The solar panels for the aircraft produced by SFUAS were supplied by ASTI, which joined hands with the company as a development partner in 2012.

Although Silent Falcon is a technology awaiting patent, it represents the beginning of commercially produced, economically viable solar-electric aircraft systems.

Ajith Kumar S

[email protected]

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