Boeing Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft Woomera Range Complex in the South Australian outback 02032021 CREDIT Boeing
Technology

Boeing's Loyal Wingman Uncrewed Aircraft Completes First Test Flight

The aircraft took off from Woomera Range Complex in the South Australian outback.

Boeing Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft Woomera Range Complex in the South Australian outback 02032021 CREDIT Boeing

Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have successfully completed the first test flight of the Loyal Wingman uncrewed aircraft.

The first military aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years, the Loyal Wingman flew with a Boeing test pilot monitoring the aircraft from a ground control station at the Woomera Range Complex in the South Australian outback.

It completed a successful takeoff under its own power before flying a pre-determined route at different speeds and altitudes in a thorough test of its current capabilities.

The uncrewed aircraft uses artificial intelligence to target enemies.

When operational, it will fly alongside other crewed and uncrewed assets.

Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, the RAAF's Head of Air Force Capability, said: "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.

The Loyal Wingman at the Woomera Range Complex (Picture: Boeing).

"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," she added.

This first Loyal Wingman aircraft is serving as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for various global defence customers.

More Loyal Wingman aircraft are currently under development, with plans for teaming flights scheduled for later this year, Boeing Australia said.

In January, the UK Ministry of Defence announced a £30m contract to design and manufacture a 'loyal wingman' prototype - Britain's first uncrewed platform capable of targeting and shooting down enemy aircraft and surviving against surface to air missiles.

Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast has been selected to lead Team MOSQUITO in the next phase of the project.

Cover image: The uncrewed Loyal Wingman at Woomera Range Complex in the South Australian outback (Picture: Boeing).