Skip to comments.Transformer jets, self-healing aircraft and UAVs printed with 3D printers....
Posted on 07/14/2014 1:50:49 AM PDT by WhiskeyX
Scientists and engineers at BAE Systems have released some interesting details about some futuristic technologies that could be operative by 2040. Or earlier.
BAE Systems has been studying futuristic aircraft shapes for quite some time.
The projects the British Defense company is working on were recently unveiled through a series of animations which show how civil and military aviation of the future could be based on 3D printers capable to print UAVs on-the-fly during a mission; aircraft that can heal themselves; a Transformer long range aircraft which splits into a number of smaller aircraft when it reaches its target, and a directed energy weapon that could engage missiles at the speed of light.
The Transformer is a flexible aircraft system that combines smaller jets: its a sort of mothership made of smaller sub-aircraft which can be combined together to increase the range, reduce the overall aerodynamic drag and save fuel during the transit to the area of operations.
Once the mothership has reached the target area, each single craft can split off to conduct its specific mission: attack, surveillance, airdrop to name but few.
The Survivor technology will be used to develop new aircraft and give them the possibility repair any damage sustained during the mission in flight.
The self-healing technology could improve survivability of the aircraft employed in high lethality scenarios. It is based on advanced materials: a lightweight adhesive fluid inside a pattern of carbon nanotubes from which the aircraft is constructed and is released when damaged to quickly set mid-flight and heal any damage, according to BAE Systems.
(Excerpt) Read more at theaviationist.com ...
Why does new aerotech take so long to get out these days? In a similar period, aircraft tech went from rickety canvas covered biplanes to jet aircraft with onboard radar in less time. It used to take no more than a few years for an idea to go from talking about it to implementation, now it takes up to a decade and a half to go from drawing board to building the first prototype, never mind deployment. And back then they didn’t have the advantages of computer design/modeling and automated manufacturing.