Look at the mad 'Transformer' plane BAE Systems has come up with

Alright, so there are points where it looks like a flying napkin. But a plane that splits into three and then joins back together in mid-air? That's cool.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 15 Jul 2014

It's the week of the Farnborough International Air Show, when aircraft and defence manufacturers show off their achievements and unveil some of their whackiest new designs. Cue a video uploaded by BAE Systems last week, which shows 'The Transformer', a wedge-shaped plane that splits into three.

Of course, this is still in the earliest of concept stages (one commenter raises the tricky question of wingtip vortices, which have been known to bring nearby planes down) - but the idea of aircraft that attach to one another raises the possibility of much cleaner air travel. Which is exciting.

Another concept posted by BAE is a plane with 'self-healing skin' - although that's a concept put forward by sci-fi writers for decades:

And then there is the ever-popular 'directed energy system', aka ray gun. George Lucas will be proud.

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