Loyal Wingman Engine Warming Up

Loyal Wingman Engine Warming Up 17 September, 2020

Boeing Australia announced on 15 September that it has powered up the engine of the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype as part of ground testing and preparations for the first flight.

The unmanned aircraft is one of three prototypes that are being developed as a part of the Loyal Wingman-Advanced Development Programme – also known as the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) – in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to extend 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.

 “This engine run gets us closer toward flying the first aircraft later this year and was successful thanks to the collaboration and dedication of our team,” Dr Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing ATS said.

The Loyal Wingman prototype now moves into ground testing, followed by taxi and a first flight later this year.

When fully developed, the ATS will be approximately 11.7 m in long – essentially fighter-sized – and expected to achieve an operational range in excess of 3,000 km. It will also be able to employ electronic warfare or sensor payloads in its modular mission bay, but this could eventually be adapted to carry weapons.

ATS aircraft are envisioned to fly autonomously or semi-autonomously in direct support to RAAF platforms such as the Boeing EA-18G Growler EW, P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol, and E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft, as well as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.


Loyal Wingman Engine Warming Up

Issue 86