The French armed forces have unveiled RAPACE, the world's first hydrogen fuel cell drone, on November 24, 2023.
The project, led by researchers from the Centre de Recherche de l'École de l'Air (CREA), aims to develop a 100% French hydrogen UAV.
Atechsys has been selected to build the airframe and ground station in Pourrières, Var. The fuel cell technology, developed by researchers at CEA-Liten, seeks to secure France's position in the high-tech market.
The drone's specificity lies in its adaptability to severe environmental conditions for all-weather flight.
The French Air and Space Force initiated the study in 2021, partnering with Atechsys for development and expecting a test flight in 2022.
CREA's cross-disciplinary research on the military use of RPAS considers operational, organizational, and technological factors. François Legalland, Director of CEA-Liten, emphasizes their role in advancing the "decarbonated hydrogen" sector.