Photo credit: Boeing

A Boeing-led Australian industry team has built the first of three prototype Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft that will serve as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) being developed for the global defense market. The aircraft are designed to fly alongside existing platforms and use artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct teaming missions.

The prototype, which uses AI to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms, is the first to be designed, engineered, and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years. It’s Boeing’s largest investment in an unmanned aircraft outside of the United States.

More than 35 members of Australian industry are supporting prototype work across four Australian states. The aircraft was engineered using a digital twin to model its structures, systems, capabilities, and full lifecycle requirements; manufactured with Boeing’s largest resin-infused single composite piece; and assembled using advanced manufacturing processes.

The Loyal Wingman prototype, presented to the Royal Australian Air Force, now moves into ground testing, followed by taxi and first flight later this year.