Solar plane that can stay airborne for a year could deliver 5G to remote areas

An artist's impression of the solar plane (Image: BAE Systems)
While 5G networks are now available in some big cities, in more remote areas, access to these networks is still very limited.

But that could be set to change, thanks to a new solar plane that can stay airborne for up to a year at a time.

BAE Systems following an agreement to acquire British firm, Prismatic Ltd., are developing the plane, dubbed the PHASA-35.

Nigel Whitehead, Chief Technology Officer at BAE Systems, said: “Our investment in the company will enable us to take this technology into production, with the very real possibility that this aircraft could enter initial operations with customers within 12 months of flight trials.”

In just 15 months, the team has developed two full-scale plane prototypes, which will now be tested at BAE Systems’ Warton facility in Lancashire.

If the tests go to plan, the planes could be launched ‘early next year’, according to BAE Systems.

The sun powers PHASA-35 during the day and by batteries overnight, and amazingly, has the potential to stay airborne for up to a year.

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While it has a large wingspan of 35 metres, amazingly, the plane weighs just 150kg.

A statement about the plane explained: “PHASA-35, when connected to other technologies and assets, will provide both military and commercial customers with capabilities that are not currently available from existing air and space platforms.

“The UAV has the potential to be used in the delivery of 5G networks, as well as provide other services, such as persistent surveillance, disaster relief and border protection, at a fraction of the cost of satellites.”

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PHASA-355G networks