Click to view Small, autonomous "flying saucers" are going to become the next big thing in recon and surveillance on the battlefield — at least, if British firm GFS has anything to do with it. GFS (which stands, charmingly, for "Geoff's Flying Saucers") has prototyped its new model of flying saucer (pictured), called the Fenstar 50, which has an internal combustion engine and works by blowing air over its curved top. The fast airflow above the craft reduces air pressure, and allows normal air pressure beneath to push the craft up. Similar craft have been manufactured in the U.S., such as Honeywell's Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) — though the MAV achieves flight via fans that push the craft up, rather than reducing air pressure above so it can rise. The idea behind these craft is that a military base or unit in the field could use them to scout locations or aid in rescue missions. A flying saucer could float over an area that's been attacked, and feed images back to soldiers who want to find out if there are any survivors. Already, emergency responders in the U.S. have used devices like these for rescuing people in collapsed buildings. According to The Register:
The Fenstar 50 will be the first GFS saucer to use an internal combustion engine. Previous craft have been electrically powered, and have suffered from very short endurance. The current [state of the art] electric saucer . . . can normally stay up for just two and a half minutes. The new Fenstar 50 is expected to manage up to an hour, carrying a payload of 5kg - a quarter of its all-up weight. GFS aims to keep the total weight under 20kg.
Yes, I want one please. And I want a space inside so my kittens can fly in it. Brit Firm to Demo Serious Flying Robo-Saucer [The Register]