Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) today announced that the Loyal Wingman uncrewed aircraft completed its first flight.

The flight of the first military aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years flew under the supervision of a Boeing test pilot monitoring the aircraft from a ground control station at the Woomera Range Complex.

“The Loyal Wingman’s first flight is a major step in this long-term, significant project for the Air Force and Boeing Australia, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the successful test,” said Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability. “The Loyal Wingman project is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams.”

Following a series of taxi tests validating ground handling, navigation and control, and pilot interface, the aircraft completed a successful takeoff under its own power before flying a pre-determined route at different speeds and altitudes to verify flight functionality and demonstrate the performance of the Airpower Teaming System design.

This first Loyal Wingman aircraft is serving as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for various global defense customers. The aircraft will fly alongside other platforms, using artificial intelligence to team with existing crewed and uncrewed assets to complement mission capabilities.

Additional Loyal Wingman aircraft are currently under development, with plans for teaming flights scheduled for later this year.

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