Aerospace giant Boeing has confirmed that the Australian government has awarded a $115 million contract to build three more Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force.
The company said that the agreement will increase the aircraft’s production capability to six aircraft for Royal Australian Air Force.
As noted by the company, the Loyal Wingman is the first military combat aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
“The Australian government’s continued investment in the innovative Loyal Wingman program will create jobs and opportunities for over 35 Australian suppliers and small businesses, including BAE Systems Australia, RUAG Australia, AME Systems and Ferra Engineering,” said Dr. Brendan Nelson, president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific.
The contract will support the maturation of the aircraft design, evolution of current and future payloads, and create the sustainment system for the aircraft in operations. It will also advance Airpower Teaming System advanced concepts through digital testing and demonstration.
“In addition to progressing the air vehicle design and support system, we will further develop the aircraft’s mission system including advanced AI decision-making capabilities and new payloads,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
“Continued digital engineering and significantly expanded live testing of the system will provide RAAF and Boeing with the ability to jointly take the concept to the next level, activities that are critical for us to rapidly understand how the Airpower Teaming System can be employed in the future battlespace.”
The first RAAF’s Loyal Wingman uncrewed aircraft took to the air on 1 March.
The flight flew under the supervision of a Boeing test pilot monitoring the aircraft from a ground control station at the Woomera Range Complex.