USE THIS ONEThe Boeing Loyal Wingman aircraft being developed with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) recently moved under its own power for the first time, a key milestone for the aircraft that’s expected to make its first flight this year.

“Air Force partners with industry to ensure we can find innovative solutions to meet our future priorities,” said Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability. “Boeing’s Loyal Wingman project is a perfect example of what this collaborative approach can achieve. Seeing the prototype take to the runway for this low-speed taxi test is an exciting moment – another significant development milestone ahead of its first flight.”

Reaching a maximum speed of 14 knots (approximately 16 mph, or 26 kilometres per hour), on the ground, the aircraft demonstrated several activities while manoeuvring and stopping on command.

“The low-speed taxi enabled us to verify the function and integration of the aircraft systems, including steering, braking and engine controls, with the aircraft in motion,” said Paul Ryder, Boeing Australia flight test manager.

Three Loyal Wingman prototypes will be the foundation for the Airpower Teaming System that Boeing will offer customers worldwide. The aircraft will fly alongside other platforms, using artificial intelligence for such teaming missions. It has advanced design and flight characteristics, including a modular nose section that’s customisable for specific needs and a conventional take-off and landing approach suitable for many missions and runway types.

“Runway independence ensures the aircraft will be a highly flexible and adaptable system for our global customers,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director, Boeing Airpower Teaming System. “This latest test marks the first full unmanned movement of the Loyal Wingman with our Australian partners and takes us a step closer to first flight.”

BAE Systems Australia congratulated the dedicated team involved in the Loyal Wingman Program in achieving the aircraft’s first taxi test. As a substantial partner and investor in the project, BAE Systems is supplying the unmanned flight vehicle management solution and simulation capability for the Loyal Wingman being led by Boeing Australia with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

(PHOTO: Boeing)

BAE Systems has more than a dozen guidance, navigation, control and software engineering experts, five with PHDs, working on the project to deliver flight control computers and navigation equipment along with a team of supporting engineers who are developing a special payload for the aircraft.

BAE Systems Australia Chief Technology Officer, Brad Yelland, said, “this is an important milestone for the program and we are pleased to be involved in bringing a new defence capability to life. This project highlights our commitment to lead the development of new technologies developed in Australia. BAE Systems Australia has worked with Boeing on a number of projects over more than three decades. Both companies have a shared national heritage having partnered on a number of early unmanned flight vehicles. The partnership and latest advancement highlights our combined commitment to deliver a world-leading program to the nation leveraging home-grown engineering expertise.


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