British boffins float flying saucer

British boffins float flying saucer

Military interested, but tin foil hat sales up

UK scientists have perfected a 'flying saucer' that could be used to replace helicopters.

GFS Projects has just completed the first round of tests on the GFS Unmanned Aerial Vehicle after receiving a grant from the UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

The firm also received a grant from the US Department of Defense to prove that the design works, and the first test flight was successfully completed on 12 October.

"The craft will be most useful in urban environments, where its ability to hover and fly close to and within buildings will enable close quarter surveillance and intelligence gathering," said GFS Projects.

"Having no exposed rotating parts, there is no risk of brushes with walls etc compromising the craft's flight."

Numerous applications have been identified, including battlefield and urban surveillance, intelligent targeting, disaster area reconnaissance, communications relay and jamming, sensor distribution, land mine detection, air quality sampling, listening and search and rescue.

The craft, which looks similar to flying saucers from science fiction films, uses a fan to generate thrust which is then channelled out of side vents. This creates low pressure on the top and high pressure below to provide lift.

The prototype is currently only 1ft wide but the inventors say it could be scaled up to carry a pilot and human passengers.