If you’ve seen the action flick Act of Valor, you may remember the small handheld UAV that was used to keep an eye on enemy placement. Lockheed Martin makes a little UAV called the Stalker Unmanned Ariel System that is similar to the UAV used in that movie. Typically, the little Stalker is powered by a battery and has a relatively short usable time before the battery runs out of power.
Lockheed Martin has announced that in cooperation with a company called LaserMotive, the Stalker has been able to fly with no stops for over 48 hours. The way Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive pulled this off is very cool. The Stalker was fitted with proprietary equipment to be able to gather power from a laser beam as it flew.
The test was conducted indoors in a wind tunnel and the Stalker flew him for over 48 hours. Lockheed says that the test could have continued and was only stopped because the aircraft had passed the endurance goals the team set. In fact, at the end of the test, the little aerial vehicle had more power in its battery than it did when the test started.