The UK defence and aerospace contractor, BAE Systems, have unwrapped several concept designs, which it envisions as possible tools for the military in the future. If these designs are anything to go by, I think Shia Labeouf or Mark Wahlberg need to be ‘de-briefed,’ as the battlefields of tomorrow are going to look like the set of a Transformers movie.
One of the concepts is actually called the Transformer. It is a stealth aircraft, which is composed of three separate airplanes; a large, diamond-shaped craft and two smaller flanking planes. The Transformer is theoretically capable of longer flights because it will conserve fuel, thereby reducing the overall aerodynamic drag.
Currently, the most common aerial refuelling techniques are the boom and the probe-and-drogue methods. These both require very skilled mid-air synchronization of separate aircraft. The Transformer would make the prospect of longer missions that much easier by requiring fewer refuels.
BAE Systems also unveiled other concept vehicles. These included a self-healing aircraft called the Survivor. This model repairs its exterior in mid-flight using a lightweight adhesive fluid within a pattern of carbon nanotubes!
The other concept videos include an aircraft that is capable of shooting a concentrated energy beam in order to disable an enemy’s missiles. And a craft with the ability to fabricate and deploy UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) using on-board 3D printers.
These are all possibilities that may come about in the next 25 years. BAE’s advanced research group is well known for producing clever concepts, but the company has been careful to mention these concepts are just predictions of what may be possible by 2040.
Nick Colosimo, an engineering manager from BAE’s R&D team said in a statement, “[W]e don’t know exactly what sorts of aircraft technologies will be used in 2040 with any certainty…But it’s great to be able to show the public some concepts that might be possible through projecting where today’s technology could get to.”
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[Image via newston]