Boeing Australia welcomes the announcement by the Australian government to co-develop a further three Loyal Wingman aircraft to advance the air-teaming vehicle, payloads and associated support and training capabilities. The contract will support the maturation of the aircraft design, evolution of current and future payloads, and create the sustainment system for the aircraft in operations. It will also advance Airpower Teaming System advanced concepts through digital testing and demonstration. The agreement will increase the aircraft’s production capability to six aircraft for Royal Australian Air Force and is valued at $115 million over three years. The Loyal Wingman is the first military combat aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
“In addition to progressing the air vehicle design and support system, we will further develop the aircraft’s mission system including advanced AI decision-making capabilities and new payloads,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
“The Australian government’s continued investment in the innovative Loyal Wingman program will create jobs and opportunities for over 35 Australian suppliers and small businesses, including BAE Systems Australia, RUAG Australia, AME Systems and Ferra Engineering,” said Dr. Brendan Nelson, president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific.
The Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS), also known as the Loyal Wingman project, is a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle in development by Boeing Australia to perform autonomous missions using artificial intelligence. The Loyal Wingman is an unmanned aircraft with an interchangeable nose cone which can be quickly interchanged with other modules for a new mission and incorporates artificial intelligence. One role will be to support manned Royal Australian Air Force aircraft, such as the F-35A, F/A-18F, and E-7A with the purpose of defence and surveillance. The UAV will be designed to act as a “loyal wingman” that is controlled by a parent aircraft to accomplish tasks such as scouting or absorbing enemy fire if attacked. The aircraft will be the first combat aircraft designed and developed in Australia in over half a century.