Loyal Wingman drone achieves first flight

A year after its unveiling, Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force’s Loyal Wingman drone has successfully completed its first flight.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flew from Woomera Range Complex and was monitored on the ground by a Boeing test pilot. This marks an important milestone for Australia: Loyal Wingman is the first military aircraft to be developed and flown in Australia in more than 50 years!

Loyal Wingman Drone taking off from Woomera Range Complex. Source: Boeing

After a series of taxi tests validating ground handling, navigation and control, and pilot interface, the aircraft completed a successful takeoff before flying the planned route at different speeds and altitudes. According to Boeing, the outcome verified flight functionality and demonstrated the performance of the drone.

Thanks to the support from more than 35 Australian industry teams and Boeing Defense, the team was able to manufacture the aircraft from design to flight in three years.

The Loyal Wingman’s first flight is a major step in this long-term, significant project for the Air Force and Boeing Australia, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the successful test. […] Through this project we are learning how to integrate these new capabilities to complement and extend air combat and other missions

said Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability.

Loyal Wingman is the first result of Boeing’s program Airpower Teasing System, aiming to integrate new drone technologies with manned assets. As Boeing states, the UAV uses Artificial Intelligence to fulfil the role and expand an air force’s capabilities.

Matteo Tivan

Matteo is a writer for AviationHub365, who lives in Northern Italy. Whilst he enjoys all types aviation, he mainly focuses on military news and analysis. Matteo enjoys flying RC aircraft and going to airshows to capture images of aircraft.

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