Queensland poised to become the final production home for Boeing’s first Australian-developed unmanned aircraft


Boeing Australia has entered into a partnership agreement with the Queensland Government to develop an advanced manufacturing capability in the state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the agreement could see Queensland become the final production home for unmanned defence aircraft, creating more high-skilled jobs, local supply opportunities and defence industry stimulus as the state continues to recover and grow from the COVID downturn.

“The creation of additional new aerospace capability could see unmanned defence aircraft produced here by the middle of the decade, with prototype testing and certification taking place before that,” the Premier said.

“We are carrying out our plan to recover and grow, including into new industries, and it’s very important that we do that not just as a government but with key partnerships.

“Our investment in this advanced manufacturing project will provide critical skills for suppliers, academia and Boeing, and culminate in Queensland becoming the primary final assembly facility for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, conditional on orders.”

The unmanned teaming aircraft is Boeing’s first military aircraft to be designed and developed outside the US and uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms.

The first aircraft prototype, called the Loyal Wingman was unveiled with the Royal Australian Air Force in May this year.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the Boeing partnership would revitalise Queensland’s advanced manufacturing sector, which is a vital part of the state’s economy.

“Our government’s longstanding commitment to advanced manufacturing is one of the reasons Queensland is already home to Boeing’s largest workforce outside the United States,” Mr Dick continued.

“Boeing has 1700 staff in Queensland and supports 400 Queensland-based suppliers.

“Loyal Wingman will mean even more highly skilled advanced manufacturing jobs, further reinforcing Queensland’s status as a centre for defence industries.

“It was precisely to attract projects like this that the Palaszczuk Government developed our 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan for Defence Industries – today is proof that plan is delivering for Queensland.”

Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific president Brendan Nelson described the partnership with the Queensland Government as ‘a significant milestone for the company’ in its efforts to develop an advanced manufacturing capability in the state.

“It’s one that will build cutting-edge skills to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in Queensland,” he said.

“This includes introducing technologies such as advanced robotics; investment in universities, small-to-medium enterprises and start-up companies; as well as creating global export opportunities for Australia’s supply chain.

“This investment could unlock global defence and aerospace opportunities for Queensland to gain future workshare in other Boeing programs.”

Image credit: https://www.boeing.com.au/