Boeing unveils Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft
Posted on 30 May 2020 and read 1335 times
A Boeing-led Australian industry team unveiled the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) earlier this month. The aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms, is the first to be wholly designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
It is also Boeing’s largest investment in an unmanned aircraft outside the USA. As the first of three prototypes for Australia’s Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Programme, it also serves as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) being developed for the global defence market.
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, chief of the RAAF, described the roll-out of the first aircraft as a significant milestone in the Boeing Loyal Wingman project. “This project is an excellent example of innovation through collaboration and what can be achieved by working together with the defence industry.
“It demonstrates the importance of the RAAF’s relationship with Boeing Australia and the defence industry more broadly. I look forward to exploring the capabilities that this aircraft may bring to our existing fleet in the future.”
More than 35 members of Australian industry are supporting prototype work in four Australian states. The aircraft was engineered using a ‘digital twin’ to model its structures, systems, capabilities and full life-cycle requirements.
It features Boeing’s largest-ever resin-infused single composite piece, and it was assembled using proven advanced-manufacturing processes.
The Loyal Wingman prototype now moves into ground testing, followed by taxi tests and the first flight later this year.