The first hydrogen fuel cell-powered UAV, the Boomerang, developed by BlueBird Aero Systems, will be unveiled at the upcoming AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2009 conference in the US.

The Boomerang, a 9kg field-operational electric unmanned aerial system (UAS) can fly for over nine hours using a hydrogen-electric power system built by Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies.

The UAS has been developed under a three-year BlueBird initiative to integrate the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology into a specially designed UAS.

The support systems include hybrid capabilities for system power redundancy, the fuel-cell cooling mechanism and more.

The fuel cell-powered UAS is already licensed for flights in Israel, where it is graded as a mature system.

The hydrogen-electric powered UAS also has new capabilities such as reduced acoustic signature,
increased effectiveness in persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and a smaller size.

AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America 2009 will be held between 11-13 August 2009.