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An unmanned aircraft demonstrated 8 days of continuous flight, breaking the world record for unrefueled, internal combustion endurance of an unmanned aircraft.
Vanilla, developed by Vanilla Unmanned, flew 12,200 miles over Edwards Air Force Base with a communications relay system & ample ballast to accommodate other sensors.
The flight was conducted in coordination with Edwards Air Force Base and has been submitted for ratification as an official world record.
Unlike larger long-endurance UAS, Vanilla is a tactical-scale Group III system that uses an internal-combustion engine for propulsion. Its smaller size enables runway independent launch from forward locations with minimal manning.
Unlike solar-powered high-altitude systems, this UAV is immediately responsive to operator tasking and flies at tactical altitudes, thereby accommodating smaller and lower cost sensors for the same C5ISR value. The UAV runs on standard Jet-A fuel, easing logistics concerns during forward operations.
The flight was the last in a series of events at Edwards Air Force Base demonstrating Vanilla’s unique multi-day, multi-sensor capability, including EO/IR cameras, satellite communications systems for BVLOS operations, and a customer-proprietary radar in addition to the mesh radio system, according to the company’s announcement.