Scientists and engineers at BAE Systems have lifted the lid on some futuristic technologies that could be incorporated in military and civil aircraft of 2040 or even earlier.
The Transformer is a flexible aircraft system that combines smaller jets for more efficient travel, before having them split apart to quickly adapt to any scenario.
The concept can be tailor-made to suit any scenario. For longer journeys, smaller sub-aircraft can be combined together during travel, to increase the range of the jet and save fuel through reducing ‘drag’.
Once they have reached their objective however, the craft can then split off and adapt to any given situation — whether that is going on the offensive if threatened, or performing functional tasks such as surveillance or the dropping of supplies.
The other ideas, produced by BAE’s R&D team at Warton, include self-healing aircraft components that can recover from damage while in flight, and on-board energy weapons that can destroy fast-moving targets such as missiles.
Nick Colosimo, a futurist and engineering manager within the R&D team said:
“Of course we 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.”