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Refuel and Rearm In Mid-Flight

F16s Refueling (Image courtesy Google Images)By Andrew Liszewski

The air forces of the world have already solved the problem of fuel-thirsty fighter planes with the ability to refuel the craft in mid-flight. The US Air Force’s research lab is now looking into a similar method to rearming their planes in mid-flight too.

A cargo plane would have a telescoping boom extending from its rear that incorporated a looped conveyor belt to move bombs and missiles from the supply plane to the end of the boom. The fighter plane would then fly over the boom until special optical sensors confirmed the weapon was properly aligned and could be automatically attached to the underside of the craft. Of course spilling a few drops of fuel during a mid-flight refill is not a big issue but the same thing happening with bombs or missiles could result in a bit of a problem.

VIA [New Scientist Invention Blog]