BAE's Bonkers Futurists Imagine Planes That Uncouple and Print Drones Mid-Air

By Gary Cutlack on at

BAE Systems has thrown a few wild ideas out there today, revealing what it thinks, hopes or possibly just imagines cutting-edge military aeroplanes may be like in the year 2040.

Here's one of BAE's bizarre imagination exercises, in which an on-board 3D printer knocks out a quick UAV to deploy for investigation purposes:

Possibly even odder is The Transformer concept, a plane made from several smaller "sub-aircraft" that can travel as one, then decouple its components when it comes under threat. This one would be extremely popular with Hollywood action directors.

The problem is it takes at least 20 years to design and build a new form of aeroplane these days, so if any of this fantasy plane-of-the-future stuff is to happen, it needs to be realistically achievable within the next five or six years to hit the 2040 deadline. And someone's government would need to find lots of billions of local money units to pay for it all, too. [YouTube]