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Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL7183, tabled on 22 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent progress they have made on the Zephyr High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite programme, following the reported mishaps in 2019.

Answered on

4 August 2020

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is sponsoring a High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) Operational Concept Demonstrator (OCD) utilising the Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) Zephyr platform to explore the utility of this cutting edge and novel technology.

There are always setbacks when you push the boundaries of technology to explore future concepts. The unfortunate incidents in 2019 led to investigations being carried out by the relevant authorities and ADS have taken the findings and implemented improvements. ADS planned to demonstrate these improvements during the HAPS OCD this summer, but trials have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The MOD continue to work with Airbus to progress the OCD and to identify further opportunities for demonstration in order to fully explore the utility of HAPS.