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Originally posted by UK Wizard
i wonder if there are any other alternative energy sources for aircraft??
when oil becomes rarer it will become too expensive to fly the planes, we need another energy supply and nuclear is an opinion, an unsafe and potentaily dangerous opinion non the less
Originally posted by longbow
I think in future the Global Hawks, or DarkStar recon aircrafts could be powered by plutonium batteries. 2kg of plutonium produces 1kW of electric energy that could be used for electric engines. Plutonium batteries are not like reactors, they don't require cooling mediums, don't have turbines or other moving parts, the energy is gained directly from the heat (alpha particles) emited from the plutonium. The batteries could be enclosed in some body from ceramic or titanium from example - that means that even after the crash the battery would stay intact. The nuclear GlobalHawk could stay in air for 50 years(!!!) without refueling. The other advantage would be no IR signature (when compared to normal engines), no acustic signature - if such "NucHawk" would have good antiradar stealth it could be absolutely invisible. Such plutonium GlobalHawks could be used instead of satellites. (Imagine stealth aircraft cruising over NorthKorea for 50 years) and also in anti misille defense systems (they could carry laser designators and guide the antimisile rockets with pinpoint accuracy - for example NucHawk cruises over North Korea equipped with IR and radar sensors, it detects an balistic missile, the fast antimisille rocket is fired from the base and duriong the end phase of flight it is guided by NucHawk's laser designator). NucHawk could also work together with ABL.
Plutonium batteries are very safe , they have been used in cardiostimulators in the past.
[edit on 15-8-2004 by longbow]