BAE’s blue sky tech is hot off the 3D printer

BRITISH aerospace giant BAE systems has seen the future – and it’s made up of 3D printers so advanced they could print small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during a mission, self-healing aircraft and large planes which divide into three smaller craft.

The UAVs could then potentially be used as a group of wide-winged aircraft for protracted or enduring surveillance, or as rotary-winged drones to rescue single civilians or soldiers from dangerous situations, BAE boffins suggest.

These – and a directed energy weapon that could engage missiles at the speed of light, destroy them and protect the people below – are among the “drawing board” technologies that the company’s research team is predicting for well into the future.

Nick Colosimo, a futurist and engineering manager on BAE’s research and development team in Warton, Lancashire, 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.

“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.”