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Thales collaborates with EuroHAPS on demo project

March 17, 2023  - By


Image: Thales Alenia Space

Image: Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space has signed a €43 million contract for the Euro High-Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) demonstration project. EuroHAPS was selected by the European Commission on July 20, 2022, for collaborative defense research and development projects from the European Defense Fund.
EuroHAPS aims to develop several stratospheric demonstrators for missions designed to improve intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and communications capabilities. Project partners include companies from Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

The project will conduct flight demonstrations for three types of complementary stratospheric platforms: A reduced-scale Stratobus from Thales Alenia Space, a solar-powered airship designed for long-endurance missions and offering large payload capacity, Hybrid High Altitude Airship from the Italian Aerospace Research Centre capable of generating extra lift with a wing airfoil, and autonomous stratospheric balloon system from ESG and TAO consisting of a series of three altitude-controllable balloons.

These three types of platforms are complementary and feature different operating times, capacity and operational restrictions. They will give Europe a broad spectrum of solutions to meet a variety of different requirements.

The platforms will test a range of missions, including lidar observation to detect and classify targets at sea or on land and the ability to detect them in environments with vegetation cover. Communications intelligence and electronic intelligence missions will also be tested, as well as a meshed broadband communications network for air and land players.

HAPS offer a new opportunity to complement ground-based, satellite-based or airborne assets with unique capabilities tailored to operational requirements. These flight demonstrations of HAPS will enable demonstrations of different platforms and address the main technical risks associated with these new technologies while refining operational requirements to ultimately enable development of future HAPS systems.

About the Author: Maddie Saines

Maddie was a managing editor at GPS World.