The Royal Australian Air Force’s Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Programme has made a significant advance, with the Boeing Australia-led project recently achieving power-on status. Announced on 9 April, this followed the unmanned platform also recently passing a ‘weight on wheels’ milestone.
“The development milestones 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,” Boeing Australia says.
Revealed as a technology demonstration effort at the Avalon air show in February 2019, Canberra’s Airpower Teaming System effort will assess the feasibility of using a so-called loyal wingman in concert with manned Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters.
“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,” says Boeing programme director Shane Arnott.