The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has announced its intention to exercise an option for the manufacture and operation of a third Airbus Defence & Space Zephyr S high-altitude pseudo-satellite unit.
The Zephyr S will be delivered ready for flight trials in summer 2017.
Flying at some 65,000ft, the ultra-lightweight Zephyr S is capable of providing persistent surveillance or communications over the same area of land or sea for weeks at a time without landing. As well as for military purposes, Zephyrs can be used for humanitarian missions, precision farming, environmental and security monitoring, and to provide internet coverage to regions of poor or zero connectivity.
It was designed to fly continuously for over a month if required before landing, being refurbished, and flying again.