Researchers are pursuing nuclear power to increase drone flight length and add new surveillance and communication capabilities, the Guardian reports.
Sandia National Laboratories, a government nuclear research and development lab, and Northrop Grumman Corp. developed blueprints for nuclear powered unmanned aerial vehicles capable of flying for months without refueling, the report said.
Sandia Corp., a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, manages and operates the laboratory.
The lab and the company set out to address drones’ low hang time over a target, power needed for running surveillance and weapons systems and low communications capacity.
The ultra-persistence technology research provided more surveillance time and information per mission, according to the Guardian.
The project also reportedly increased electrical power by two-fold.
As a result, the nuclear-powered drones could operate for months without refuel or recharge.
That could eliminate the installment of forward bases and fuel supplies in secluded hostile locations, the report said.
Sandia released a statement saying that the results they have achieved are extremely conceptual and that no hardware was produced or tested.