Boeing Australia powered up the commercial turbofan engine on the first Loyal Wingman aircraft in September, as part of ground testing and preparations for first flight.
“This engine run gets us closer toward flying the first aircraft later this year and was successful thanks to the collaboration and dedication of our team,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. “We’ve been able to select a very light, off-the-shelf jet engine for the unmanned system as a result of the advanced manufacturing technologies applied to the aircraft.”
The 38-foot (11.7-meter) Loyal Wingman (Boeing Airpower Teaming System) drone is designed to use artificial intelligence (AI) in teaming with other manned and unmanned platforms.
Fuselage structural assembly of the first Loyal Wingman was completed in February. On May 5, Boeing presented the aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
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.