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Boeing Unveils Australian-Developed Unmanned Wingman Jet

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Boeing Unveils Unmanned Combat Jet Developed In Australia (excerpt)

(Source: Reuters; published Feb 27, 2019)

By Jamie Freed

Boeing unveiled its unmanned Airpower Teaming System drone, seen here escorting a Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft, at the Australian International Airshow on Feb. 27. It will provide multi-mission support for a wide range of missions. (Boeing photo)

AVALON, Australia --- Boeing Co on Wednesday unveiled an unmanned, fighter-like jet developed in Australia and designed to fly alongside crewed aircraft in combat for a fraction of the cost.

The U.S. manufacturer hopes to sell the multi-role aircraft, which is 38 feet long (11.6 metres) and has a 2,000 nautical mile (3,704 kilometre) range, to customers around the world, modifying it as requested.

The prototype is Australia's first domestically developed combat aircraft since World War II and Boeing's biggest investment in unmanned systems outside the United States, although the company declined to specify the dollar amount.

The Australian government is investing A$40 million (22 million pounds) in the prototype programme due to its "enormous capability for exports," Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne told reporters at the Australian International Airshow.

Defence contractors are investing increasingly in autonomous technology as militaries around the world look for a cheaper and safer way to maximise their resources.

Boeing rivals like Lockheed Martin Corp and Kratos Defence and Security Solutions Inc are also investing in such aircraft.

Four to six of the new aircraft, called the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, can fly alongside a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, said Shane Arnott, director of Boeing research and prototype arm Phantom Works International.

"To bring that extra component and the advantage of unmanned capability, you can accept a higher level of risk," he said. "It is better for one of these to take a hit than for a manned platform." (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.


Australian-Designed Unmanned "Loyal Wingman" Aircraft to Be Developed with Industry

(Source: Australian Minister for Defence; issued Feb 27, 2019)

The Australian Government will partner with Boeing to advance an initial concept for an Australian-designed and developed unmanned aircraft system.

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, said the research and development opportunity was a further demonstration of the Australian Government’s collaborative and maturing relationship with Australia’s defence industry as well as international recognition of our strength and capabilities.

“The partnership will produce a concept demonstrator of a low cost unmanned ‘Loyal Wingman’ aircraft, capable of operating in concert with Air Force’s fifth generation air combat capability,” Minister Pyne said.

“There is significant value investing in innovative, future leaning initiatives like this, particularly in the early conceptual stages where Defence can explore concepts and define the role such capabilities can play in our national security framework.”

“This will be Boeing’s first unmanned aircraft designed and engineered in Australia and represents the company’s largest investment of its kind outside of the United States.”

Minister Ciobo said that Boeing will seek to team with large, medium and small Australian businesses and partner with research organisations, including universities and the Defence Science and Technology Group.

“The development and demonstration of this air vehicle will create around 100 new high-technology jobs in aerospace engineering and design in Australia, as well as wider job opportunities across the supply chain,” Minister Ciobo said.

“This proposal could lead to another exciting step forward in Australia’s defence export strategy and provide our allies with critical capabilities based on Australian ingenuity.”

Defence will invest approximately $10 million per year, up to $40 million to evolve development of this concept.


Boeing Introduces New Unmanned System For Global Defense Customers

(Source: Boeing Co.; issued Feb. 27, 2019)

MELBOURNE, Australia --- Boeing has introduced its newest unmanned platform, the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.

Designed for global defense customers by Boeing Australia, it is the company’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.

The aircraft will complement and extend airborne missions through smart teaming with existing military aircraft.

A model of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow by the Australian Minister for Defence, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP. As a research and development activity, the Australian Government and Boeing will produce a concept demonstrator called the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program that will provide key learnings toward the production of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.

“The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide a disruptive advantage for allied forces’ manned/unmanned missions,” said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems. “With its ability to reconfigure quickly and perform different types of missions in tandem with other aircraft, our newest addition to Boeing’s portfolio will truly be a force multiplier as it protects and projects air power.”

The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will:
-- Provide fighter-like performance, measuring 38 feet long (11.7 metres) and able to fly more than 2,000 nautical miles;
-- Integrate sensor packages onboard to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and electronic warfare;
-- Use artificial intelligence to fly independently or in support of manned aircraft while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft.

“This aircraft is a historic endeavor for Boeing. Not only is it developed outside the United States, it is also designed so that our global customers can integrate local content to meet their country-specific requirements,” said Marc Allen, president, Boeing International. “The Boeing Airpower Teaming System provides a transformational capability in terms of defense, and our customers – led by Australia – effectively become partners on the program with the ability to grow their own sovereign capabilities to support it, including a high-tech workforce.”

First flight is planned for 2020.