Boeing Australia Loyal Wingman UAV Powers Up

Loyal Wingman
Credit: Boeing

Boeing’s Airpower Teaming System unmanned aircraft is on its landing gear and powered up as the loyal wingman demonstrator progresses toward a first flight planned in Australia later this year.

The jet-powered UAV is being developed in Australia by a Boeing-led team for the Royal Australian Air Force’s Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program to demonstrate the concept of a low-cost unmanned aircraft that can cooperate with its strike, electronic attack and surveillance platforms.

Boeing has released a picture of the stealth-shaped aircraft on its landing gear, but still lacking its shoulder-mounted wing. The head-on view shows the vehicle’s angled fuselage sides, diverterless inlets and canted tails.

The weight-on-wheels and aircraft power-on development milestones “come just weeks after completion of the first fuselage, allowing for rapid progress on systems installation and functional and integration testing from the aircraft’s own landing gear,” Boeing said in a statement. 

““We’re continuing at pace toward our goal of flying later this year, so that we can show our customer and the world what unmanned capability like this can do,” said Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.

Boeing Australia is leading an industry team, including local suppliers such as BAE Systems Australia, in developing the unmanned aircraft. In addition to funding from Boeing and its suppliers, Australia’s Defense Department is investing some A$10 million ($6.3 million) a year, up to a total of A$40 million.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.