Today, BAE Systems announced some of their plans for the future including 3D printed drones, directed energy weapons, and.a modular drone called the Transformer because it can fly as a single unit or divide into three separate crafts.
BAE describes the drone as follows:
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.
These drones could be fitted with directed energy weapons, which BAE also announced its plans for:
A futuristic attachment weapon for aircraft that is capable of firing a concentrated beam of energy at the speed of light.
Currently in use on battlefields today are Directed Energy Systems which can be used to protect ground troops from incoming projectiles such as missiles or mortars via concentrated energy beams.
In future, these could be adapted into an attachment for aircraft, taking that capability to the air, allowing fast-moving jets to destroy targets mid-air with incredible accuracy, at a low cost per beam, and with a very deep magazine which holds beams.
Additionally, BAE unveiled plans for a 3D printed drone:
Smaller unmanned aircraft — or UAVs — are created by super high-tech on-board 3D printers, via Additive Layer Manufacturing and robotic assembly techniques. The 3D printers respond to data fed to them by a remote control room where a human commander decides what should be produced.
Imagine if this technology was driven by peace instead of war.