Airbus Taps WIlliams’ Experience to Enhance Zephyr

Airbus Zephyr high altitude long endurance drone

Williams Advanced Engineering will explore the use of lightweight composites and battery design for application with Airbus‘ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme. Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering said he hopes to share some of his team expertise in electrification, battery systems, and advanced lightweight materials.

Zephyr is a record-breaking, solar-powered, unmanned aerial system (UAS), or drone, with unique communications and surveillance capabilities. It will fly at more than 65,000ft, above commercial air traffic, for months at a time. The first production examples are being manufactured at Farnborough for the UK Ministry of Defence.

Williams is the sole battery supplier to the FIA Formula E championship since its inception. With four decades of experience at the pinnacle of motor racing, where lightweight materials and structures are crucial, Williams is now developing these technologies and finding innovative solutions to weight saving. “Our engineering teams are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from the Formula 1 world and just as enthusiastic about sharing much of what we have learned in developing solutions to high-altitude, solar-powered flight.” Airbus Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems, Jana Rosenmann, said