A HYPERSONIC space-plane, a jeep which could leap over enemy blockades and an aircraft able to take off and land vertically are some of the 1960s inventions unearthed from the archives of BAE Systems.

The inventions were produced by engineers in predecessor companies including English Electric, Hawker Siddeley and the British Aircraft Corporation.

ABOVE: The vertical lift aircraft

Howard Mason, heritage manager at BAE Systems, said: “Although 50 years have passed since these extraordinary designs were first put to paper, we can see how some of the technologies and ideas were developed over time and put to use now in aircraft like the F35 Joint Strike Fighter."

None of the ideas made it beyond their creator’s sketchbooks and have not been seen since.

But drawings have been released to coincide with the opening of a new centre to celebrate heritage at the company’s military aircraft factory in Warton.

Howard said: “Aircraft and vehicle engineering involves producing and analysing thousands of iterations and, whilst today the process is sped up through the use of computer modelling, it’s fascinating to look through our archives and see what engineers were working on at that time.

“BAE Systems stores more than one million historical documents and artefacts and, in addition to celebrating our nation’s engineering achievements, I believe these examples of forward thinking are still inspiring for young people who are thinking about a career in engineering and considering the endless possibilities of what could be designed.”

The jumping jeep, powered by 12 vertical lift fans, was cancelled due to the cost.

Experts also worked on a hypersonic plane, the first re-usable space plane which would have travelled at five times the speed of sound.

ABOVE: the fighter jet lift-off platform

ABOVE: The jumping jeep

ABOVE: The hypersonic plane