The Royal Australian Air Force is set to receive the first Australian designed and made military aircraft in fifty years. Boeing’s Loyal Wingman drone uses artificial intelligence to advance its capabilities; this means that the pilots will not have to remotely control the drone’s manoeuvres. The drone is currently undergoing ground testing, followed by taxi and its first flight scheduled for later this year.

The aircraft is 11.5 metres long, and boasts a removable nose that can be packed with payloads. It was designed using a digital twin that modelled its structure, capabilities, and allowed Boeing to virtualise the operation of the drone, how it would be produced and maintained as a physical asset1.

It is planned that the drone will be able to team with other assets, such as Super Hornets, JSFs and Growler and Wedgetail aircraft. The Loyal Wingman has a range of 3700kms, almost double the range to that of the JSF. The UAV will have a capability that can quickly respond to threats to our nation2.

The drone demonstrates the important collaborative relationship between Boeing and the Australian Defence Force, and particularly the air force. The Australian Government has invested $40 million3 into the Loyal Wingman, acknowledging the need for innovation and collaboration to keep our nation secure.

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