BlueBird Aero Systems

BlueBird Aero Systems
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies

August 06, 2009 13:43 ET

BlueBird Aero Systems, Horizon Unveil World's First Commercial Fuel Cell UAS

Companies to exhibit at AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2009 in Washington, D.C. August 11-13

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2009) - Developed by BlueBird Aero Systems and powered by Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, the world's first long endurance, commercial hydrogen fuel cell powered Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) named "Boomerang" will be showcased as one of the top innovations at this year's upcoming AUVSI conference in Washington, D.C. Horizon will also display its brand new AEROPAK, a new self-contained 2kg fuel cell power system able to deliver 900Wh, which can increase the flight endurance of small and stealthy UAS by as much as 300 percent.

Unmanned aircraft are used in a variety of military, homeland security and civilian applications. The unique ability to perform long endurance missions with a mini UAS, as presented by BlueBird's Boomerang, is a great benefit especially for border patrol, infrastructure surveillance, critical assets and environmental monitoring missions.

BlueBird's "Boomerang" is a field-operational 9kg electric powered UAS which is now able to fly for over nine hours using Horizon's high performance hydrogen-electric power system. BlueBird Aero Systems concluded a three-year effort to integrate the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology into a specially designed UAS, developing support systems like hybrid capabilities for system power redundancy, fuel-cell cooling mechanism and more. The fuel cell-powered UAS is already licensed for flights in Israel and is graded as a "matured" system.

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies of Singapore have been known to deliver the world's highest energy density performance for PEM fuel cell technology, and orders of magnitude beyond than what is possible today even with the best lithium batteries. The company has made significant technological progress in the recent months and believes it currently offers the world's lightest and most compact electrical energy storage system, which fits very well with the needs of small electric UAS.

Hydrogen-electric powered UAS will bring important new capabilities - reduced acoustic signature, smaller size, as well as increased effectiveness in increasingly important persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Where battery performance limits the effective use of these promising systems, Horizon's next-generation fuel cell power systems will improve versatility and open new mission possibilities for small aircraft such as BlueBird's Boomerang UAS. In addition to increasing flight endurance, Horizon's new fuel cell system also makes it possible to increase the capability of smaller and lower cost aircraft by integrating more power draining electronic devices, such as electro-optical sensors, infrared cameras and laser designators.

Over the next 10 years, industry analysts expect the acquisition market for UAS to exceed $44 billion in the U.S. alone. According to Ron Stearns of G2 Solutions in Seattle, WA, "the use of pervasive UASs is increasing because the persistent ISR capabilities they bring are unmatched. Horizon's fuel cells have the potential to improve the Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) configuration for tactical UAS propulsion, leading to increased UAS endurance or expanded sensor and/or communications-relay capabilities."

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies and BlueBird Aero Systems will be located in Booth 1170 in Exhibit Hall E at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America 2009, Aug 11-13 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

About Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies Pte. Ltd.

Headquartered in Singapore, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies develops and manufactures high performance lightweight and compact fuel cell systems used in aerospace. Horizon has been demonstrating its high-performance fuel cell capabilities with a series of pioneering flights since 2006, which included "Hyfish," integrated by the German Air & Space Agency (DLR) and the "Pterosoar," which set a new FAI world record for distance in 2007 (NASA), now aiming for a new 16 hour flight endurance world record this year.

Media contact:

About BlueBird Aero Systems Ltd.

Since 2002, BlueBird Aero Systems specializes in the design, development and production of Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and peripheral equipment. BlueBird delivers unique, unprecedented, combat proven solutions to meet the challenges and needs of the military, homeland security and civilian UAS markets. BlueBird's products are designed for high cost-effectiveness, modularity, ease of use, high reliability, uniqueness and outstanding performance in all weather conditions.

BlueBird Aero Systems Ltd. is a member comprising the portfolio companies of Athlone Global Security, Corporation. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, AGS is a body duly incorporated under the laws of Delaware. AGS focuses on the homeland security market and emerging homeland security technologies like prevention of unauthorized access, threat detection and protection of critical infrastructure. BlueBird Aero Systems Ltd., although a separate company in its own right, plays a strategically important role as one of AGS's flagship business units addressing all four pillars of homeland security. (

To view a picture of the "Boomerang", please visit the following link:

Contact Information

  • Athlone Global Security Corporation
    Ms. Renee Stroud
    (703) 942-9979 (office) or (703) 725-3322 (cell)