Cadet Researchers in for the Long Haul:

Cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs are working to produce a stealthy unmanned aerial vehicle that is powered by an alternative energy source. The academy launched the project, in which cadets study fuel cells and hydrogen storage materials, about 10 years ago in a joint effort with Ball Aerospace and Hydrogen Components Inc. John Wilkes, the academy’s chemistry research director, believes the project’s work on hydrogen fuel cell technology would benefit small UAVs using electric motors, which are stealthier because they are quiet and produce less heat, but which currently use heavy, time-limiting batteries. Wilkes believes the cadets are on the right track, but he says the “journey along that road is usually 20 years or more.”