Boeing has successfully tested the hydrogen propulsion system of its High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft. The propulsion system is based an a hydrogen engine developed by Ford.
Darryl Davis, vice president and general manager, Boeing Advanced Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems said:
This test demonstrates the technical readiness of the hydrogen engine system and confirms the capability breakthrough in flight endurance and altitude that could be realized by a variety of military and commercial customers.
During the test, the engine ran for nearly four days in a controlled chamber at Aurora Flight Sciences including a total of three days that simulated conditions at 65,000 feet. The propulsion system included a multi-stage turbocharged internal combustion engine and its associated subsystems. The Ford engine earned better than expected fuel economy while demonstrating complete airflow and torque control across the engine’s operating range.
HALE is designed to stay aloft for more than seven days and carry payloads weighing up to 2,000 pounds.