Boeing introduces new unmanned aircraft system developed in Australia

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Boeing has unveiled a new unmanned aircraft platform developed for global defence customers by Boeing Australia.

Designed for in-country customisation and growth of sovereign capabilities, the Boeing Airpower Teaming System represents the company’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.

The aircraft, which was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow by Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, measures 11.7 metres in length and is able to fly more than 2,000 nautical miles.

It integrates sensor packages onboard to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and electronic warfare, and uses artificial intelligence to fly independently or in support of manned aircraft while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft.

Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems, said the aircraft is intended to complement and extend airborne missions through smart teaming with existing military aircraft.

“The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide a disruptive advantage for allied forces’ manned/unmanned missions,” Ms Robertson said.

“With its ability to reconfigure quickly and perform different types of missions in tandem with other aircraft, our newest addition to Boeing’s portfolio will truly be a force multiplier as it protects and projects air power.”

Marc Allen, president, Boeing International, said the aircraft’s maiden flight is scheduled for 2020.

“This aircraft is a historic endeavour for Boeing. Not only is it developed outside the United States, it is also designed so that our global customers can integrate local content to meet their country-specific requirements,” Mr Allen continued.

“The Boeing Airpower Teaming System provides a transformational capability in terms of defence, and our customers – led by Australia – effectively become partners on the program with the ability to grow their own sovereign capabilities to support it, including a high-tech workforce.”

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