"A futuristic long-range aircraft that divides into smaller ones during or upon arrival at its mission is also a possibility."
London, July 7 - Imagine a powerful drone that heals itself, divides into smaller ones or knocks out missiles with direct energy.
By 2040, super hi-tech 3D printers would be able to create small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, researchers at BAE Systems, a British defence, security and aerospace company, have said.
These UAVs can be used for surveillance or to rescue civilians or soldiers from dangerous situations, scientists added.
These 3D-powered UAVs could render themselves useless with the installation of dissolving circuit boards if they fall into enemy territory.
They may also be able to land in a recoverable position if they are needed for further use, the report said.
This would create the ultimate adaptable taskforce, with a lead aircraft able to enter any unknown scenario and quickly manufacture an effective tool set for any task, Nick Colosimo, an engineering manager with BAE Systems, was quoted as saying in the Guardian.
The aircraft parts can heal themselves in minutes even during flights.
A futuristic long-range aircraft that divides into smaller ones during or upon arrival at its mission is also a possibility.
These UAVs can also engage missiles at speed of light, destroy them and protect the people, the report added.