BAE drone concept can switch between fixed-wing and rotary mode for vertical landings

The military has seen the need for aircraft that can take off and land vertically while having higher top speeds associated with fixed wing aircraft. This is the thought process behind the Osprey and some aircraft like the Harrier jet. There are also drones that are able to do this.

BAE is working with students at the Cranfield University in Britain and together the team has come up with something quite new in the drone world. The team has come up with what it calls Adaptable UAVs that are expected to be ready for use in the military in the next few decades.

The drone envisioned would be able to fly with both motor and propeller units forward facing for fixed-wing flight. When it was time to take off and land, one of those motor and propeller units would rotate backwards for rotary wing mode. In that mode the entire aircraft would spin allowing vertical takeoffs and landings.

The round hole in the concept seen above would allow for multiple drones to be stacked on masts or poles making the drones easier to store. The tall poles holding the drones would be gyroscopically stabilized so if mounted on ships or land vehicles the poles remain upright and stable.

This is a very cool concept, but it looks like the transition from horizontal to vertical flight would be a difficult one. Check out the video below to see what BAE envisions for the take off and landing of these drones.

SOURCE: New Atlas