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Boeing’s Loyal Wingman completes first taxi

Posted on 23 Oct 2020 and read 615 times
Boeing’s Loyal Wingman completes first taxiThe Boeing Loyal Wingman aircraft being developed with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) recently moved under its own power for the first time, a key milestone for the aircraft that is expected to make its first flight this year.

Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability, said: “Air Force partners with industry to ensure we can find innovative solutions to meet our future priorities. Boeing’s Loyal Wingman project is a perfect example of what this collaborative approach can achieve.”

“Seeing the prototype take to the runway for this low-speed taxi test is an exciting moment — another significant development milestone ahead of its first flight.”

Reaching a maximum speed of 14 knots (approximately 16mph), on the ground, the aircraft demonstrated several activities while manoeuvring and stopping on command.

Paul Ryder, Boeing Australia flight test manager, said: “The low-speed taxi enabled us to verify the function and integration of the aircraft systems, including steering, braking and engine controls, with the aircraft in motion.”

Three Loyal Wingman prototypes will be the foundation for the Airpower Teaming System that Boeing will offer customers world-wide. The aircraft will fly alongside other platforms, using artificial intelligence for such teaming missions.

It has advanced design and flight characteristics, including a modular nose section that’s customizable for specific needs and a conventional takeoff and landing approach suitable for many missions and runway types.

Dr. Shane Arnott, program director, Boeing Airpower Teaming System, said: “Runway independence ensures the aircraft will be a highly flexible and adaptable system for our global customers. This latest test marks the first full unmanned movement of the Loyal Wingman with our Australian partners and takes us a step closer to first flight.”