Airbus Defence has officially opened the operating base for its Zephyr drone in Wyndham, Western Australia.
The high-altitude pseudo satellite (HAPS), the development of which was originally started by UK-based defense firm Qinetiq in 2003, has been moved to Australia after being flight tested in Arizona, USA, where during August it logged a maiden flight of 26 days, the longest duration un-refuelled flight ever made.
The Wyndham-site in Western Australia has been chosen for its base because of its unrestricted airspace and reliable weather, said Airbus.
The Zephyr HAPS operates in the stratosphere at an average altitude of 70,000ft above weather and air traffic. The drone has a wingspan of 25m (82ft) and weighs 75kg.
Flight testing of the Zephyr during the coming months will focus on trialing the drone with different payloads, said Airbus. Read more