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China’s Fighter Jets Turn Wings into Autonomous Drones

China's Fighter Jets Turn Wings into Autonomous Drones

In a striking display of aerospace innovation, Chinese engineers have reportedly tested a groundbreaking “combiner” blended-wing stealth aircraft with detachable drone wings.

This transformative technology, reminiscent of fictional “combiner” Transformers, was showcased during a test flight at an undisclosed airport near the Mu Us Desert’s southern edge.

The stealth fighter, equipped with powerful twin-engine turbofans and a sleek delta-wing design, demonstrated unprecedented versatility. During the flight, segments of its wings detached, seamlessly transforming into two separate “flying wing” drones powered by electric fans.

This capability marks a significant leap in aerial warfare, enabling the fighter to deploy autonomous drones mid-flight for strategic operations.

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Future stealth fighters will prioritize integration with drones

Yang Wei, chief designer of China’s J-20 stealth fighter, emphasized that future iterations will prioritize seamless integration with drones. The development includes plans for a two-seater variant of the J-20 to enhance operational coordination with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), reflecting China’s strategic focus on combined arms tactics.

The next-generation stealth fighter design integrates two drones directly into the aircraft’s delta wing structure, departing from earlier attempts that fixed drones to wingtips.

This innovative “rear edge docking configuration,” connecting leading edges of the drones to the fighter’s trailing edge, enhances stability during separation. However, it poses challenges such as managing significant changes in the aircraft’s center of gravity and aerodynamic balance.

FCC-100 flight control computer ensures precise control

To address these complexities, Du’s team developed advanced algorithms capable of analyzing and compensating for disturbances like wind changes during drone separation. Both the fighter and the drones utilize the cutting-edge FCC-100 flight control computer from Northwestern Polytechnical University, ensuring precise control and maneuverability.

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While specific details about the test flight date remain classified, the project signifies remarkable advancements in aircraft stability and control. These developments pave the way for practical applications in future combat scenarios.

Chinese scientists are also exploring additional technologies like plasma stealth and advanced airflow management to further enhance the capabilities of their next-generation fighters.

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Aerospace

Boeing Transfers Rocket Stage to NASA, Paving Way for Human Moon Mission

Boeing Transfers Rocket Stage to NASA, Paving Way for Human Moon Mission
Image:Boeing

Boeing has achieved a significant milestone by providing NASA with the second core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

This crucial component, crafted at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF), is set to propel the Artemis II crew into lunar orbit, marking humanity’s return to deep space after a 50-year hiatus.

The monumental Boeing-built rocket stage, the largest element of the Artemis II mission, will embark on a journey aboard the Pegasus barge, traveling 900 miles to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Comparison of two legendary aircraft B777x vs B747 aircraft:Click here

Upon arrival, it will be meticulously integrated with other essential Artemis II components, including the upper stage, solid rocket boosters, and NASA’s Orion spacecraft within the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building. This intricate integration process is a vital step toward the eagerly anticipated Artemis II launch, slated for 2025.

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Boeing-built products helped land humankind on the moon in 1969, and we’re proud to continue that legacy through the Artemis generation,” remarked Dave Dutcher, vice president and program manager for Boeing’s SLS program. “Together, with NASA and our industry partners and suppliers, we are building the world’s most capable rocket and paving the way to deep space through America’s rocket factory in New Orleans.”

NASA, Lockheed Martin Reveal X-59 Quiet Supersonic Aircraft:Click here

The delivery of Core Stage 2 marks a significant achievement in the evolution of the SLS rocket. Towering over 200 feet and powered by four RS-25 engines, this core stage, coupled with two solid-fueled booster rockets, will generate a staggering 8.8 million pounds of thrust. This immense power is crucial to launching Artemis II and future missions into the vast expanse of space.

The SLS rocket stands unparalleled in its capability to transport both crew and substantial cargo to the moon and beyond in a single launch. Its extraordinary capacity will facilitate the delivery of human-rated spacecraft, habitats, and scientific missions to destinations including the moon and Mars, ushering in a new era of space exploration.

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