Britain's New Anti-Terror Weapon: The Zephyr S Drone, a solar-powered 'pseudo-satellite' flying at 70,000 feet

A new drone will be trialled next year to track terrorists

A drone (not pictured) will be used by the SAS to track terrorists

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The British military has a new weapon in its fight against terrorism: the Zephyr S Drone, a craft which is described as a ‘psuedo-satellite’ and can be used to track terrorists in all corners of the globe.

The solar-powered drone, designed by British engineers at Airbus Group in Farnborough, is able to stay in the air for 45 days - smashing the world record for an unrefuelled aircraft, and allowing it to traverse the globe to monitor potential threats.

By day it is powered by solar panels and recharges its lithium-sulphur batteries for use at night. It's controlled by satellites and can be controlled from anywhere in the world, however when satellites are not available it can be controlled by a local base within 250 miles. 

Its wingspan is 22.5 metres (74 feet), and also the aircraft can reach heights of 70,000 feet, which is twice the height of commercial planes. It is said that if you replaced an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a Zephyr Drone, it would save 2,000 tons of fuel each year.

Elite units will use the camera on the drone to monitor its movement. Trials of the drone will be held next year, but full details of the drone can't be revealed due to security.

The UK announced its third order of the Zephyr S on Wednesday, at a cost of £4.3 million, having initially purchased two in February. Following the latest purchase, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK is planning to introduce "more ships, more  aircraft, more troops available at readiness, better equipment for special forces, more being spent on cyber – to deal with the increased threats to our country."