Ascent Solar Technologies has started supplying lightweight and flexible thin-film solar cells for Bye Aerospace’s Silent Falcon unmanned aircraft (SFUAS).

The PV will be used on the aircraft’s solar wings.

Silent Falcon, a solar-electric, all composite, modular small UAS, incorporates an interchangeable wing configuration designed for commercial, public safety and defence applications.

The 30lb Silent Falcon UAS claimed to feature efficient aerodynamic design, lightweight composite construction and advanced solar energy collection, which said to facilitate all day flight endurance.

"Silent Falcon is the first solar-electric aircraft to enter commercial production."

Ascent Solar CTO Joe Armstrong said: "Its solar wings, based on our in-production, flexible, monolithically integrated CIGS photovoltaic product, are performing extremely well, giving the propulsion system a significant source of lightweight electric energy and enabling the aircraft’s unprecedented endurance.

"Working closely with Silent Falcon, we have demonstrated a product specific to their needs and specifications, as well as assisting them in related power management technologies."

Bye Aerospace started SFUAS in 2010 with a prototype electric unmanned aerial vehicle and initial design work on solar electric hybrid propulsion.

SFUAS president John Brown said: "Silent Falcon is the first solar-electric aircraft to enter commercial production.

"Silent Falcon is taking and filling its initial customer orders."

Bye Aerospace said that the Silent Falcon is available for flight demonstrations, and expects to receive orders exceeding several hundred units a year.

Ascent Solar Technologies was selected in 2012, to provide solar cells on the Silent Falcon wings.

Image: Silent Falcon is a solar-electric, all composite, modular small UAS with an interchangeable wing configuration. Photo: courtesy of Bye Aerospace, Inc.