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BAE flight tests flapless drone

Engineers at BAE Systems are testing a drone that can be manoeuvred in flight using supersonically blown air, removing the need for movable flight control surfaces.

The flight testing of the Magma drone took place at the Llanbedr Airfield in north-west Wales last month. The flight trials successfully demonstrated two “blown air” control technologies that replace moving surfaces such as flaps and ailerons and are designed to improve the control and performance of aircraft. Magma has been designed and developed by researchers at the University of Manchester and engineers from BAE Systems.

By replacing moving surfaces with the blown air technology, aircraft that are lighter, more reliable and cheaper to operate could be developed, said BAE Systems. The technologies could also improve an aircraft’s stealth as they reduce the number of gaps and edges that currently make aircraft more observable on radar.

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