Boeing Australia has hit a major milestone with its Loyal Wingman drone, completing its first fuselage for its Advanced Development Program in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The drone is one of three prototypes being produced as a part of the program.
Boeing Australia announced in a press release on April 10th that it has completed its first fuselage for its Loyal Wingman drone in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The team of 16 has used digital engineering and advanced composite materials to create an 11.7-meter (38-foot) drone within specific price and agility goals. The drone has also been designed to use artificial intelligence alongside manned and unmanned systems.
Dr. Shane Arnott, program director, Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) shared the following on the milestone for the Boeing team.
“This is an exciting milestone for the development program, and the Australian aerospace industry, as we progress with production of the first military aircraft to be developed in Australia in more than 50 years.”
Air Commodore Darren Goldie, RAAF Director-General of Air Combat Capability also wanted to share what the partnership with Boeing has meant for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
“The partnership with Boeing is key to building our understanding of not just the operational implications for these sorts of vehicles, but also making us a smart customer as we consider options for manned-unmanned teaming in the coming decade. Boeing is progressing very well with its development and we look forward to seeing the final product in the coming months.”
Australian Industry participation has allowed the drone to be produced rapidly with various companies working together to build key systems:
- BAE Systems Australia, who have delivered hardware kits including flight control computers and navigation equipment;
- RUAG Australia, who have delivered the landing gear system;
- Ferra Engineering, who have delivered precision machine components and sub-assemblies to support the program; and
- AME Systems, who have delivered wiring looms to support the vehicle.
The next milestone for Boeing’s Loyal Wingman drone will be to manufacture it on its landing gear instead of the assembly jig. After that, the drone is expected to complete its first test flight by the end of this year.
Photo: Boeing Australia