Can we Grow Fighter Planes in Tanks?

Researchers Want to Grow Fighter Planes in Tanks With Organic Chemputer

A team comprising of the less strictly managed members of BAE Systems and researchers at the University of Glasgow would like us to start using the word “chemputer” in everyday talk, as this organic approach to creating objects, they say, might be the future of all computers and therefore warfare.

It comes as BAE announces a two-pronged attempt to back the British-built tech of the future. BAE says the chemputer concept “…could enable advanced chemical processes to grow aircraft and some of their complex electronic systems, conceivably from a molecular level upwards,” although it initially says it’ll be “small UAVs” and components likely to be emerging from the organic soup, rather than a full scale F-35B Lightning II or some future equivalent as illustrated in the insanely far fetched BAE concept image shown above.

A rather fantastic video called Growing Aircraft Through Chemistry is available on YouTube:

Doubt any of us will be alive to see this happen. We’ll be lucky to get back to supersonic passenger jets this century. Lee Cronin from the University of Glasgow thinks he might live to see an organic drone, though, saying: “We have been developing routes to digitize synthetic and materials chemistry and at some point in the future hope to assemble complex objects in a machine from the bottom up, or with minimal human assistance. Creating small aircraft would be very challenging but I’m confident that creative thinking and convergent digital technologies will eventually lead to the digital programming of complex chemical and material systems.”

The other prong BAE’s investigating at the moment is the concept of the Hypersonic Response Aircraft. This would/might see hypersonic jets being scrambled and sent off to wherever troublesome foreign people have been acting up again, flying high enough and fast enough (Mach 5.0 ) to evade ground-based missiles and delivering bombs or other forms of miscellaneous support within hours.

BAE says this more achievable thing is already some way towards happening, thanks to the work of Reaction Engines and its SABRE/SKYLON spaceplane design work.

By Gary Cutlack on at



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