This may be a flying saucer, but don’t call it a UFO. Carefully named, the All DIrections Flying Object, or ADIFO, is instead a saucer-like contraption, a flying prototype built at exploring the aerodynamic potential of an alien craft. It is, at its core, an omnidirectional flying wing built around a quadcopter with jets attached. Its designers see a future for the airframe as an unmanned combat aerial vehicle.
In a video posted July 1, a narrator discusses the design process and aerodynamics of the craft. Like many VTOL tools built on a quadcopter frame, ducted fans provide initial lift and mobility at low altitudes and low speeds. The addition of vectored jets on the rear of the craft, combined with four vertical vents and four side-facing vents, promising greater maneuverability at high speeds.
The ADIFO is the invention of Romanian engineer Razan Sabie in conjunction with Iosif Taposu, a scientist with a long career in aerospace research for the Romanian government.
“The aerodynamics behind this aircraft is the result of more than two decades of work and is very well reasoned in hundreds of pages and confirmed by computer simulations and wind tunnel tests,” Sabie told Vice, in the pair’s first American interview. That story explores both the specific nature of the ADIFO, and the long and mostly failed history of flying saucer design.