Water jet engines, which could be used in the future to propel drones from the sky, are being tested in Ireland by the country’s Air Vehicles Unit (AVU).
The engine is a prototype, and is designed to operate in windy conditions.
It is expected to be installed on a drone during the coming months.
In a statement, AVU said the test was part of the organisation’s ongoing efforts to develop and commercialise advanced water jet engines for the Air Vehicles, as well as the Air Force’s water-based aircraft, including the new H-6.
The AVU, a unit of the Defence Forces, is part of an Air Force innovation initiative.
It develops and sells new, lightweight, high performance and fuel efficient technologies to the Air Forces.
The company, which is part-owned by the Department of Defence, has been working on the development of the water jet engine for a number of years.
It has tested and demonstrated the engine in wind tunnel tests in Europe and in the US.
The first prototype was designed in 2013 and the engine was used in an aircraft to test its flight control systems, as part of its “Air Force First” programme.
This year, the company has also demonstrated the water engine in its aircraft and the H-2B.
It said it was working on further developments to the engine, which would enable it to be used on drones.
The water jet has an operating pressure of about 8.8 litres per square metre and a speed of 3,000 feet per minute.