BAE engineers have designed a futuristic new concept for unmanned aircraft. The UAVs are adaptable and would be able to switch between fixed-wing flight and rotary-wing flight depending on the combat scenario. In rotary-wing mode, the UAVs could hover, as well as take off and land vertically; and the fixed-wing mode would make the them faster and capable of covering longer distances.
The design is radically different from modern UAVs, and was a collaborative effort between BAE engineers and students from Cranfield University in the UK. The Adaptable UAVs would use advanced navigation and guidance software, but the deployment and landing concepts are particularly interesting.
In a video released by BAE, you can see the UAVs being launched from land and sea, and even a concept that shows a canister deployed from an aircraft that would open to reveal a swarm of UAVs. The canister method really looks similar to the OUTRIDER, the drone developed by Lockheed Martin and Wirth Research; only BAEs looks more like a hive opening to send a half dozen UAVs into the battlefield.
The rotary wing mode would allow the Adaptable UAVs to be easily launched and recovered from a range of vehicles using a gyro-stabilized pole that would remain upright during launch and recovery, and also keep the UAVs from moving sideways too quickly and harming military personnel.
The engineers see the UAVs working in concert, like a swarm, to take out sophisticated threats in the air or on the ground. While the Adaptable UAVs is only one of many new concepts, it offers a glimpse at the potential battlefield of the future.