Scientists and researchers at BAE Systems have been working on futuristic aircraft technologies that involve the use of advanced 3D printers to create small unmanned aircraft.
The company’s Research and Development team at Warton is looking into the possibility of developing a super hi-tech on-board 3D printers, an additive layer and a robotic assembly, which could be used for various purposes in both military and civil aircraft.
According to the media release by BAE Systems, the UAV technology is one of four futuristic technologies the company has been working on. It could be incorporated in military and civil aircraft in 2040 or even earlier.
The other three technologies are:
- 3D printing aircraft parts that can heal themselves in minutes;
- a new type of long range aircraft which divides into a number of smaller aircraft when it reaches its destination; and
- a directed energy weapon that could engage missiles at the speed of light, destroy them and protect the people below.
The team of experts at Wartonis is working with the UK’s leading aviation experts from universities, the government and a whole range of companies to predict and explore how aircraft engineering might evolve.
“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,” said Nick Colosimo, Executive Manager for Advanced Systems & Architectures at BAE Systems.
“BAE Systems has a rich heritage in research and development, and our team builds on literally decades of previous R&D work by thousands of scientists and engineers.”
According to The Guardian, all four technologies are still at the drawing-board stage but BAE, which has invested £117 million across all of its research and development work in 2013, is confident about the prospects of them becoming a reality.