Earlier this year, the Royal Australian Air Force signed a $115 million contract to buy three more autonomous “Loyal Wingman” drones from Boeing, raising its total order to six aircraft.
Also known as the “Airpower Teaming System’ , the UAV is 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 as well as operating independently.
The fuselage of Loyal Wingman is made of composite materials by using an advanced resin-infusion process. Digital engineering and advanced composite materials will further help in achieving cost and agility goals of the aircraft. It has a length of 11.7m and wingspan of 7.3m. The UAV will have the capability to fly at a subsonic speed and attain a range of more than 2,000 nautical miles.
The Boeing Airpower Teaming System is the company’s first uncrewed system to be designed and developed in Australia. It is the company’s largest investment in a new uncrewed aircraft program outside the United States. More than 35 Australian companies, including BAE Systems Australia, RUAG Australia, AME Systems and Ferra Engineering, are involved in the production of the aircraft.