The aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to expand the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms, is the first to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
It is Boeing’s largest investment in an unmanned aircraft outside of the United States.
As the first of three prototypes for Australia’s Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program, the aircraft also serves as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Equipment System (ATS) being developed for the global defense market.
Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, said, “This is a truly historic moment for our country and for Australian defense innovation. The Loyal Wingman UAV will be instrumental in exploring the critical capabilities that our Air Force needs to protect our nation and its allies in the future.”
“This project is an excellent example of innovation through collaboration and what can be achieved by working together with the defense industry. This demonstrates the importance of the Air Force’s relationship with Boeing Australia and the defense industry in general.”
“I look forward to exploring the capabilities that this aircraft can bring to our current fleet in the future.”
More than 35 members of the Australian industry are supporting prototyping work in four Australian states.
In response to global market demand for high-capacity but extremely affordable unmanned aircraft, Boeing applied innovation across the company to achieve those goals.
The aircraft was designed using a digital twin to model its structures, systems, capabilities, and full life cycle requirements; It was made from the largest single piece of composite material from Boeing ever made with resin infusion and assembled using proven, advanced manufacturing processes.
Kristin Robertson, Vice President and General Manager, Autonomous Systems for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, has said:
“We are proud to take this important step forward with the Royal Australian Air Force and show the potential of unmanned intelligent equipment to serve as a multiplier of the force. We hope that the aircraft will be tested in flight and that the concept of unmanned equipment will be demonstrated.”
“We see global allies with the same mission needs, which is why this program is so important to advance the development of the Boeing Airpower Equipment System.”