Is that insect real, or is it a drone?

Air Force lab applies flight mechanics of natural world

Air Force researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are working to develop small and miniature unmanned drones that replicate the flight mechanics of moths, hawks and other inhabitants of the natural world on the grounds that such movement would enable them to “hide in plain sight,” as one aerospace engineer said, reports the New York Times.

The research effort, which is taking place on the base at an indoor lab aptly called the microaviary, is part of the continuing proliferation of drones that is transforming the way the United States wages war against its adversaries.

The current focus at the microaviary is on developing technology that mimics the flapping of wings that occurs in flight — an aspect that the researchers say is easier done with wing motions of insects as opposed to the more complicated aerodynamics of bird flight.

Defense Systems Update

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