Boeing’s stealthy Loyal Wingman combat drone achieved two development milestones by taking its weight on its wheels for the first time and having aircraft power switched on.
“Boeing Australia recently achieved two milestones on the Royal Australian Air Force’s Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program: weight on wheels and aircraft power on,” the company announced Wednesday.
The development milestones for the unmanned aircraft come just weeks after completion of the first fuselage, allowing for rapid progress on systems installation and functional and integration testing from the aircraft’s own landing gear.
“We’re continuing at pace toward our goal of flying later this year, so that we can show our customer and the world what unmanned capability like this can do,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
The Loyal Wingman (Boeing Airpower Teaming System) is designed to use artificial intelligence (AI) in teaming with other manned and unmanned platforms. The aircraft is one of three prototypes that will be developed as a part of the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Digital engineering and advanced composite materials have been applied to achieve cost and agility goals for the 38-foot (11.7-meter) aircraft.
For the Loyal Wingman, BAE Systems delivered hardware kits including flight control computers and navigation equipment; RUAG Australia delivered the landing gear system; Ferra Engineering supplied precision machine components and sub-assemblies to support the program; and AME Systems provided wiring looms to support the vehicle.