Boeing’s Loyal Wingman completes first test flight

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Image Credit: Boeing

Boeing Australia announced today that it has successfully completed the first test flight of its Loyal Wingman uncrewed aircraft with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Also known as the Airpower Teaming System (ATS), the Loyal Wingman is the first military aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.

Leveraging Boeing’s model-based engineering techniques such as a digital twin to digitally flight-test missions, the Loyal Wingman took three years to manufacture and design with the support from over 35 Australian industry teams.

The maiden sortie, which occured yesterday, was supervised by a Boeing test piloting monitoring the aircraft from a groun control station at the Woomera Range Complex.

After a series of taxi tests, the aircraft flied a pre-determine route at varying speeds and altitudes to asses the functionality of the ATS design

“The Loyal Wingman’s first flight is a major step in this long-term, significant project for the Air Force and Boeing Australia, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the successful test,” explained Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability.

“The Loyal Wingman project is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams.”

“Through this project we are learning how to integrate these new capabilities to complement and extend air combat and other missions,” Roberts added.

Commenting on the maiden sorite, Boeing Defence, Space & Secuirty President and CEO Leanne Caret said: “Boeing and Australia are pioneering fully integrated combat operations by crewed and uncrewed aircraft.”

“We’re honored to be opening this part of aviation’s future with the Royal Australian Air Force, and we look forward to showing others how they also could benefit from our loyal wingman capabilities.”

Additional Loyal Wingman aircraft are set for teaming flight later this year.

For more information about the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, visit https://www.boeing.com/defense/airpower-teaming-system/.

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