Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI), the most recent company created by ITN Energy Systems who established AST in 2005 to manufacturer state of the art, thin-film monolithically-integrated CIGS flexible photovoltaic modules, announced that its state-of-the-art, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules will be designed into the development of a hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle (H-UAV) called the Silent Sentinel developed by Bye Aerospace, Inc. The H-UAV will be designed primarily for military use; however, its capabilities will also include a broad spectrum of civil applications.
The first of its kind hybrid utilizes stored electric power, thin film solar photovoltaics (PV), and other technologies to enhance its endurance, quiet operations and low emissions. Bye Aerospace is teamed with thin film PV manufacturer Ascent Solar to develop the solar energy capability on the aircraft. For primary propulsion the hybrid UAV will be coupled with an advanced Williams International FJ33 turbofan. The efficient engine will provide the UAV remarkable climb rates and high altitude quick access to areas requiring surveillance.
Charlie Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of Bye Aerospace, said the Silent Sentinel is a robust, long-range UAV that will incorporate several proprietary clean energy features. “Ultimately, it will provide advanced tactical reconnaissance functionality while utilizing a uniquely long endurance, highly capable tactical sensor platform that is operationally stealthy and cost-effective to operate. The unique characteristics of the Ascent Solar flexible modules allow us to design this UAV to become very energy efficient.”
Dr. Joseph Armstrong, Chief Technical Officer of Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. stated, “Our flexible, monolithically integrated CIGS PV technology offers the ideal combination of low weight, higher voltage, and high performance that makes it ideal for applications such as the Silent Sentinel, and we look forward to providing Bye Aerospace the materials they require for their vehicle.”
Potential military applications include border patrol, search and rescue, visual and thermal reconnaissance, and forward air control. In addition, potential civil applications include traffic control, pipeline and power line inspection, aerial law enforcement, forest fire detection and aerial photography. Initial meetings are being conducted with US Government entities regarding the capabilities of the aircraft. More are planned in the near term.