Commercial, Military

BAE Systems Unveils 2040 Aircraft Engineering Concepts

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | July 10, 2014
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[Avionics Today July 10, 2014] Engineers BAE Systems revealed a series of aviation technology concepts that could be incorporated into aircraft by 2040, although the British aerospace manufacturer admits some of the concepts are a little beyond belief. 

Four advanced technological concepts were unveiled by BAE Systems, including a long range aircraft that divides into several smaller aircraft when it reaches its destination, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) capable of using direct energy weaponry to destroy missiles, aircraft components that heal themselves and onboard three dimensional printing of UAS while in-flight on a manned aircraft. 
“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, a futurist and engineering manager for the BAE Systems research and development team. 
The most unbelievable concept presented is the in-flight 3D printing of UAS. In one video, BAE presents a mock disaster situation where a manned surveillance aircraft uses on-board 3D printers that respond to data fed to them by a remote control room where a human commander decides what type of UAS should be printed based on the disaster scenario. 
The scenario depicted by BAE features a man stuck on the roof of a house, and a surveillance aircraft uses a touch screen interface to three dimensionally print an advanced UAS that autonomously flies through hazardous condition and releases a quad copter that lets down a rescue ladder and then flies the human to safety.
While the company does not explain how it would three dimensionally print the camera, imaging sensors, circuit boards or processors, it does state that the UAS are created with "additive layer manufacturing and robotic assembly techniques."

Check out the concept videos released by BAE Systems below to decide if any of this is actually possible.  

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