Feeds

Israelis build floating electric hover platform

Only snag: Needs to be plugged in on the ground

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Israeli war-tech engineers are planning to build electrically driven hover platforms which would float like balloons tethered to ground- or vehicle-mounted energy sources by long power cables.

The Electric Tethered Observation Platform (ETOP). Credit: IAI

Uh-oh! Power cut!

Flight International reports that the machines have been dubbed electric tethered observation platforms (ETOPs), and stay aloft on vertical thrust delivered by electrically-powered ducted fans.

Apparently an ETOP will need no operator or pilot to keep itself airborne, and it can stay up more or less indefinitely provided power is maintained to the tether umbilical. It can cope easily with being towed around by a base station mounted on a ground vehicle, or alternatively maintain position above a fixed base.

The ETOP being developed initially has a payload of up to 20kg and is able to lift this and its power tether to heights of up to 100m. Israel Aerospace Industries, developing the ETOP, told Flight yesterday that 10 test flights have been carried out and two prototype craft are in operation. The firm expects to have the system ready for employment as of 2011.

ETOPs would presumably be used mainly as surveillance and communications platforms, offering line-of-sight over a larger area than a base or vehicle could normally command. They should be close to silent in operation themselves, though there would normally need to be an engine or generator running at the bottom of the tether if grid power was unavailable.

If successful, such platforms might be a rival to tethered aerostat balloons, currently in use for similar purposes by several nations. An ETOP would be much less conspicuous than a corresponding aerostat, but would demand a lot of power. Its biggest weakness would seem to be the comparatively heavy tether, which would be likely to restrict operating altitude badly.

The Flight report is here. There's more on the ETOP from IAI here; the company expects to exhibit the machine at next month's Eurosatory expo in Paris. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
Space station astronauts pop outside to replace crippled computer
Speedy space walk by snorkel-equipped spacemen followed by trash day
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.