Fuel Cell Powers SKIRON-XLE sUAS for Long Range Reconnaissan
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Jun 28, 2024

Fuel Cell Powers SKIRON-XLE sUAS for Long Range Reconnaissance

Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, was out in the field with a new addition to its SKIRON Expeditionary small UAS product line. Designated SKIRON-XLE, the long-endurance variant is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and purpose-designed for long range reconnaissance. While flight testing is on-going, SKIRON-XLE is expected to extend flight times to well over five hours.

The SKIRON product line combines the convenience of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) with the longer endurance of a fixed-wing design. The aircraft carries high-resolution EO/IR payloads from Trillium Engineering. Custom payload integration is available, and an optional belly-mount payload space and under-wing payload mounts may be added. With Trillium’s HD55 gimbal, the battery-powered SKIRON-X weighs 49 pounds, while the fuel cell SKIRON-XLE weighs 54 pounds. Either system is easily transported in a standard truck or SUV and deployed by a two-person crew.

In addition to Trillium payloads and a fuel cell from Intelligent Energy, Aurora’s complete SKIRON-XLE system includes a new, ruggedized ground control station featuring Kutta Technologies’ Unified Ground Control Station (UGCS) software. Aurora uses a customized version of UGCS-Defense, which meets international STANAG 4586 standards as well the US Army’s Interoperability standards. With this Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) to software and hardware interoperability, the entire SKIRON-XLE system provides a unique solution for this class of UAS. The long-range system with a 2.4G 10W radio and tracking antenna provides up to 75 km command and control (C2) link range; multiple frequency and output power options are available.

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“Aurora is excited to extend our SKIRON platform to include a fuel-cell-powered variant that can deliver maximum flight endurance and range,” said Larry Wirsing, VP of aircraft and product development at Aurora Flight Sciences. “With this new product now in flight testing, we look forward to providing customers such as the U.S. military with an easy-to-deploy solution for long range reconnaissance.”

Manufactured at Aurora’s facility in Manassas, Virginia, SKIRON-X and SKIRON-XLE are quick and easy to set-up, can take-off and land virtually anywhere, and offer fully autonomous launch, flight, and landing.


Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.
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