Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2006 Andreas Parsch

Naval Research Lab Spider-Lion

The Naval Research Laboratory's Spider-Lion vehicle is a research mini-UAV to test fuel cell propulsion systems for small UAVs. The aircraft's PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell was jointly developed by the NRL and Protonex Technology Corporation, and delivers a total power of 100 W (of which 10 W are required for system operation).

Photo: NRL

The Spider-Lion vehicle weighs 2.5 kg (5.6 lb), and in November 2005 it conducted a flight of 3 hours 19 minutes duration. As of December 2005, the UAV was used in simulated tests to acquire further data on performance and efficiency. Long-term goal is the development of an efficient fuel-cell propulsion system for long-endurance (8-24 h) mini-UAV applications, something which cannot be achieved with current battery technology.


No data about the Spider-Lion's dimensions or performance characteristics are available.

Main Sources

[1] NRL UAV Fact Sheets
[2] NRL demonstrates fuel cell-powered unmanned aerial system, NRL Press Release, 29 November 2005
[3] US Naval Research Laboratory fuels UAV power development, Flight International, 20 December 2005

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 7 February 2006