Military Transformers: 20 Innovative Defense Technologies
May 15, 2012 11:00 AM Department of Defense technologies under development, from brainy microchips to battlefield transformer vehicles, promise to make the U.S. military more nimble. Here's a visual tour of 20 breakthrough ideas.
The X-56A Multi-Use Technology Testbed (MUTT) is a prototype unmanned aircraft made of lightweight, flexible materials that's being developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory in collaboration with Lockheed Martin. Its long, thin wings (28 feet across) are susceptible to vibrations, or flutter, that results from air flow and turbulence. Engineers plan to use MUTT's flight-control software to find ways to minimize flutter. That knowledge will inform the design of the proposed X-54 aircraft, which is intended to demonstrate technologies that muffle sonic booms, potentially opening the door to supersonic commercial flights over the United States.