BAE systems, along with students of the Cranfield University have developed a concept for a new kind of drone that can transition between flight modes mid flight. It can go from a normal flight path to a vertical takeoff and landing path by switching the direction of one of its propellers.
The drone, dubbed Adaptable UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) is still in its concept stage, but researchers believe that this aircraft could be put to military use within the next few decades, reports Futurism.
Adaptable UAV will follow a normal, forward facing rotor setup when flying at high speeds. When the craft needs to land or take off, one of the rotors will swivel backwards, causing the entire drone to spin like a propeller. This mode is called the rotary wing mode, and will allow for instant vertical flight, both upward and down.
The fuselage or body of the drone will be shaped like a wing, and will have a large hole in the middle. This hole will aid in the takeoff and landing, says the report. It will be deployed from a stationary pole over which multiple drones can stack up. The pole can be placed anywhere from vehicles, to submarines and even building rooftops.
If the pole is placed on a moving vehicle, it would be gyroscopically balanced so as to allow easy stacking of drones.
A statement from BAE systems said, "This novel technology could allow UAVs to better adapt to evolving future battlefield situations and through working together in a swarm, tackle sophisticated air defenses, as well as operating in complex and cluttered urban environments."
While BAE is yet to set a specific date as to when Adaptable can be expected to be seen in action, they did say that militaries would be using it in the next few decades.
"The Adaptable UAVs concept and related technologies are one of a number of concepts being explored through close collaboration between industry and students in academia," noted BAE's Futurist and Technologist Nick Colosimo.