HAPS (High Altitude Platform Station) Mobile, a joint venture of SoftBank Corp. and Aerovironment, Inc., wants to establish an operations center on the island of Lanaʻi for its network of solar-powered telecommunications aircraft. The company is developing the HAWK30 UAS, which would fly in the stratosphere and provide on-ground telecommunications services for smart phones and other devices. A 300-foot tent hangar has been purchased for the Lanaʻi site and the project is awaiting land-use rezoning permits to proceed. HAPSMobile intends to launch up to 1,000 aircraft from Lanaʻi.

Above: Artist rendering of HAPSMobile’s HAWK30 aircraft in flight. Source: HAPSMobile.

The company is also interseted in building an assembly facility in Hawaii where its drones could be assembled for deployment to other parts of the world. The company would have to recover three planes per day to keep the fleet in the air, and the average maintenance cycle might be 30 days. Ninety planes would be in various states of repair at the maintenance center on a continual basis. Such a facility is expected to create 200+ high-tech workforce jobs to maintain and keep the aircraft in flight.