Well, apparently the United States Air Force has been talking with LEGO about creating custom parts that can be used for prototyping new planes and vehicles. This isn't new, as LEGO has been used by other companies as a prototyping tool, but the difference here is that LEGO would be asked to create some fairly large pieces - think about wings and landing gear and such.
While I don't think we're going to see a USAF/LEGO hybrid jet (it probably wouldn't pass safety standards for crash tests) I think we're seeing a hint of things to come here. LEGO has long been looking at expanding its product line and a partnership with the USAF could be very useful to those of us who enjoy LEGO robotics.
According to the Air Force Press Release, a prototype training jet is already under construction and is scheduled to be rolled out in late 2009. One of the most shocking pieces of data about the jet will be its weight - the F-16 fighter jet weighs approximately 15,600 pounds. The LEGO training jet will come in just under 2,240 pounds. This will greatly increase the speed of the training vehicle and reduce fuel consumption, a nice benefit in this day of high fuel costs.
What does this mean to the consumer? Well, we all know that military applications tend to roll down hill after a few years (or decades) so I don't think it will be long before we see the first commercial applications and regular citizens are able to purchase LEGO airplanes for weekend entertainment.
What do you think? Would you buy one?