BAE has produced four early stage ideas that could allow aircraft to heal itself, divide into smaller ones or knock out missiles with direct energy.
3D printers could be so advanced by 2040 they could create small unmanned aircraft, BAE Systems claim.
These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) could then potentially be used as a group of wide-winged aircraft for protracted or enduring surveillance or as rotary-winged UAVs to rescue single civilians or soldiers from dangerous situations, the defense firm’s scientists and engineers suggest.
Nick Colosimo, a Futurist and Engineering Manager within the R&D team said: “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 invested £117M of its own capital for aerospace and security business R&D in 2013.