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Inside the Archive: Loyal Wingman

On a day earlier this year that we can’t tell you, at a place in the outback we don’t know, a prototype aircraft without even a pilot flew for the first time – in what we can confirm was one of the most significant moments for Australia’s aviation industry in decades.

Loyal Wingman, fully unveiled to the world in May 2020, is the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in this country in more than 50 years. It uses AI to fly alongside both manned and unmanned aircraft in mid-air, hence the project name. While not much is known about its full roles, it operates as a mini fighter capable of electronic warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Or, as Boeing’s Airpower Teaming System program director Shane Arnott explains, “It is better for one of these to take a hit than for a manned platform.”

Australia announced in March it would spend an extra $115 million to acquire three more Loyal Wingmans, doubling the size of the fleet to six. We’d tell you more, but the project is understandably shrouded in secrecy. But some things are just far cooler the less you know.

4 Comments

  • Walter James

    says:

    Great technology from an AUSTRALIAN company which is AT LAST being applied to our armed forces.

  • Iain Lamb

    says:

    Impressive

  • Grant Mitchell Spork

    says:

    Australia should also join Korea, Japan or the UK and build our own 5th generation fighter jets. like the CAC the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation which built Mosquitoes, Mustangs, Beaufighters and even jet aircraft we need a home grown capability!

  • Roger

    says:

    The future for UAV’s in the world Air forces today is Bright! It’s good to Know the RAAF is in the forward Vanguard of technology. 👀👍

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