Army Drones Change Shape Mid-Flight

Wings on fixed-wing small unmanned aerial systems, like the RQ-20A Puma, could soon have improved designs, thanks to a tool designed by Army researchers. (Spc. Brian Chaney)

Soon, the U.S. Army will be able to deploy autonomous air vehicles that can change shape during flight. A new tool was developed that can rapidly optimize the structural configuration for unmanned vehicles while properly accounting for the interaction between air and the structure.

The tool will be used to develop Future Vertical Lift vehicles with morphing wings. Coupled with additive manufacturing, the future warfighter will be able to manufacture optimized custom air vehicles for mission specific uses.