Fighter planes used to carry drop tanks…fuel-filled underwing cylinders which, once exhausted during a long-distance mission, would be jettisoned to allow greater manoeuvrability during an attack.
Now that aerial drones or UAVs are becoming commonplace, today’s invention represents a way for airforces to undertake their missions with greater flexibility -and without having to tie up massive aerial tankers which are themselves pretty vulnerable.
Each fuel tank, in additional to the internal ones, would be a UAV in its own right.
On reaching a target area or when under attack, a military jet would release the tanks which would adopt a randomised holding pattern in the sky until docked again with the original plane or with another emitting a recognised callsign.
This would allow the parent craft to be a much less vulnerable target and offer the chance for different planes to rendez-vous with fuel in an emergency.