British Military Building 'Transformer' Plane

British military manufacturer BAE Systems has unveiled a series of innovative concepts for futuristic technologies, including a plane straight out of Transformers that separates into several smaller vehicles when it reaches its target.

Io9 reports that the transformer plane is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to BAE's high-tech designs. Under previous incarnations, BAE has been responsible for building the famous Supermarine Spitfire plane in World War II, as well as the Harrier "jump jet." The company is also partly responsible for designing a drone for the British military called the Taranis, which drew comparisons upon its unveiling to a Cylon, another robotic race from science fiction.

The transformer jet is one of the most innovative of BAE's new designs. Combining a trio of smaller planes or drones, the transformer allows them to save on fuel and energy requirements by flying long distances together as a single plane, before separating once they reach their target area or are attacked, as Sploid notes. BAE posits that 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 aircraft was actually inspired by the flight patters of geese, as well as the movie series, which as The Inquisitr reported, recently released its latest installment.

The transformer plane is hardly the only impressive technology on display from BAE, however. Another plane, called the survivor, is able to repair itself in the midst of a firefight. This seemingly amazing ability to "heal" is achieved through a system of nanotubes built into the plane, which can deliver a "lightweight adhesive fluid" to damaged areas. During a battle, the plane would effectively patch its own wounded sections.

A third technology posited by BAE engineers is "on-board 3D printing." Much like the transformer, this concept involves multiple aircraft, yet applied in a different manner. A system of drones could be purpose-built on board the plane for whatever challenges may arise. If those drones should fall into enemy hands, dissolving circuit boards would then render them inoperable.

BAE claims that these technologies could be used in military planes as well as civilian ones, however it will be some time before they are available. Since these designs are largely in the conceptual stage, it will likely be 2040 before any of us get to take a ride in the transformer plane.

[Image via Gizmodo UK]