Boeing has selected Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia to set up the company’s first aircraft assembly facility of its kind outside of North America to produce the Boeing Airpower Teaming System drones (also known as Loyal Wingman).
The announcement comes days after Australia abrogated a deal with France to build conventionally-powered submarines opting instead to build nuclear-powered submarines in partnership with the U.S. and the U.K.
Boeing Australia will establish the facility in the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct at Wellcamp Airport to produce and assemble the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (also known as Loyal Wingman), the first modern military combat aircraft system designed and developed in Australia which made its first flight in February 2021.
Australian Treasurer and Minister for Investment Cameron Dick said, “This announcement follows our success with Australia’s first commercial drone flight testing facility at Cloncurry Airport last December, of which Boeing was a first user.
It’s the result of an arrangement our government entered into with Boeing Australia last year to support the establishment of the primary final assembly facility for the Boeing Loyal Wingman here in Queensland, subject to defence orders. It’s expected the project could generate up to $1 billion dollars for Queensland’s economy over 10 years, with more than just defence industries to benefit,” said Dick.
This project delivers on the vision of the Queensland Defence Industries 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan, which aims to significantly increase defence revenue and generate 3,500 new full-time jobs by 2028.
The uncrewed aircraft is designed to operate as a team, using artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of crewed and uncrewed platforms.
Boeing Defence Australia Vice President and Managing Director Scott Carpendale said, “We’re thinking long-term about this investment, which could assist Australia to gain future work share in other global defence and aerospace opportunities, in addition to the Loyal Wingman assembly.
Boeing Australia is currently developing six aircraft in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), with flight testing ongoing.