Applications of fuel cells - military and aerospace

Applications of fuel cells – military and aerospace

Fuel cells have many military and aerospace applications. An occasional article in Military and Avionics lists the use of fuel cells for battlefield sensors and weapons. Some vehicles, such as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), and unmanned aerial combat vehicle (UACV), are capable of playing an important role in the battlefield environment [7]. These vehicles do not require soldiers to drive, but can perform functions or tasks required by field commanders. Portable power sources using fuel cells are best suited to power these vehicles as long as the power requirement does not exceed around 5kW. The power generation capacity of fuel cells exceeds about 5kW, and the volume tends to become very large. Portability is the most critical requirement for most battlefield sensors and weapons, drones, airborne systems and underwater sensors. Therefore, fuel cells with the required power capacity, reduced weight and size, high reliability, and improved efficiency are ideal for these applications. Besides fuel cells, we also offer high quality Tycorun Lithium Battery for your choice.

  1. Battlefield applications of fuel cells
Battlefield applications of fuel cells
Battlefield applications of fuel cells

Fuel cells could be used in a variety of military missions on the future battlefield, including robotic applications; unmanned vehicles and drones for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition (RSTA), logistics and cargo transport: remote-controlled security inspections; obstacle destruction ; medical applications including moving wounded soldiers; road clearing; destroying mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), while the application of military robotics used to be considered futuristic science fiction, military robotics are here and here to stay future. Even in the 21st century, in Iraq and Afghanistan, robots have effectively detected and destroyed improvised explosive devices.

The latest technical article published in the journal “Military and Aerospace Electronics” revealed that future battlefield conflicts will involve a large number of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with missile attack capabilities and reconnaissance, surveillance and target search tasks. UACVs for combat missions in hostile territory and for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target search, and UGVs for unmanned ground vehicles that undertake various battlefield missions, a recent article published in the journal Military and Avionics proposes to help drones detect and Development of state-of-the-art electro-optical and microwave sensors for attacking hostile submarines and surface ships, as well as for attacking ground targets and participating in electronic warfare against IED equipment [8].

The power generation capability of a fuel cell is strictly dependent on the duration of the mission, payload capacity, number of sensors used and the type of battlefield mission performed by a particular UAV. Preliminary studies conducted by the author on the power output capabilities of fuel cells for these battlefield applications show that fuel cells with a power output between 3 and 5 kW are sufficient for the basic sensors of UAVs to perform RSTA and counter-insurgency missions. Powering the side-looking radar may require an additional 2kW of power reserve. For UACVs that undertake various tasks with a duration of less than 5h, the output power of the fuel cell must reach 4~6kW. Finally, unmanned ground vehicles may require a fuel cell power generation capacity of 5~7kw to perform specified tasks lasting no more than 4h. The longer the mission duration, the higher the payload, and the larger the number of sensors involved, the higher the power capacity requirements of the fuel cell. Power capacity, payload requirements and mission duration will determine fuel cell type and performance requirements.

  1. Fuel cells deployed on UAVs with surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and missile attack capabilities like electronic drones
Commercial hydrogen fuel cell stacks for UAVs
Commercial hydrogen fuel cell stacks for UAVs

Based on the successful UAV attack on hostile targets in Iraq and Afghanistan, it can be said that electronic drones equipped with electronic optical systems, side-looking radar, and RF/IR radiation sensors are most likely to be used in future military conflicts without Geo-restricted. Precise targeting and missile strikes by these unmanned electronic aircraft will be the preferred method of military conflict in the future. These UAVs can accomplish military mission objectives with minimal cost and complexity and without the loss of the UAV operator.

Requirements for fuel cells for electronic unmanned attack aircraft. Fuel cells with unique design concepts can focus on reliability, weight, size and power capacity. It is possible to obtain fuel cells with a power generation capacity of more than 5kw, light weight, compact size, and an operating life of more than 10,000h. The weight and size will be compatible with the payload capacity of the drone. Closed-cycle fuel cells are best suited for this particular driverless vehicle.

Read more: Requirements for rechargeable batteries in electric and hybrid electric vehicles