Boeing rolls out first of three Loyal Wingman prototypes for RAAF

by Kelvin Wong

Boeing Australia announced on 5 May that it has rolled out the first of three production-representative unmanned aircraft being built under the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) AUD40 million (USD25.7 million) DEF6014 Phase 1 project, also known as the Loyal Wingman-Advanced Development Programme.

The type is the first clean-sheet Boeing aircraft to be developed outside the US and the first military aircraft to be built in Australia in more than 50 years. The three Loyal Wingman aircraft prototypes are expected to be used for testing and validating new technologies and operational concepts for future RAAF operations.

Boeing Australia has rolled out the first Loyal Wingman aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force. The unmanned aircraft features a swappable nose section that enables it to be rapidly reconfigured for different mission requirements. (Boeing)

Boeing Australia has rolled out the first Loyal Wingman aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force. The unmanned aircraft features a swappable nose section that enables it to be rapidly reconfigured for different mission requirements. (Boeing)

The fighter-sized Airpower Teaming System (ATS) aircraft will measure 11.7 m in length and have an operational range of more than 3,000 km. It will feature a reconfigurable 2.59 m-long nose section with an internal volume of over 1.47 m 3 and open-architecture payload interfaces, enabling an operator to easily re-role an aircraft for evolving mission requirements in-theatre “within hours”, according to Boeing officials. The company declined to disclose the types of mission payloads that the aircraft will carry, although past reports have indicated that these will include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and electronic warfare (EW) suites.

The RAAF earlier stated that it plans to test the Loyal Wingman aircraft’s ability to team up with and enhance the situational awareness and survivability of its manned aircraft, which includes the Boeing multirole F/A-18E Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler EW aircraft, E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, as well as the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

Rear view of the first Loyal Wingman aircraft prototype that will support testing and validation of manned-unmanned teaming operational concepts for the Australian air force. (Boeing)

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/boeing-rolls-out-first-of-three-loyal-wingman-prototypes-for-raaf

Boeing Australia announced on 5 May that it has rolled out the first of three production-representat...

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