The stratosphere is a new frontier for competition between aviation and technology giants where solar planes could offer advantages over satellites.
This includes lower costs, easier manoeuvrability and fast deployment turnaround time. Solar planes will be able to support and complement the current satellites and ground stations acting as relays.
Such technology also could support BLOS ( Beyond Line of Sight) missions such as launching rockets.
Subsidiaries of Airbus SE, Boeing Co and Softbank Group Corp are developing stratospheric drone which could fly autonomously for months.
A research firm NSR said that high-altitude aircraft which includes, drones, balloons and airships could bring in 1.7 billion in revenue over the next decade. There are an estimated 40 programs underway.
Singapore is strategically located, we are known to be a regional aerospace hub. Having a stratospheric capability will put us on the map as one of the most capable countries in the upcoming future.