Boeing’s Australian Unmanned Aircraft Completes First Taxi Run
(Source: Boeing Co.; issued Oct 22, 2020)
Boeing Australia on Wednesday completed the low-speed taxi test on its first Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft as part of ground testing and preparations for first flight. (Boeing photo)
AUSTRALIA --- The Boeing Loyal Wingman aircraft being developed with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) recently moved under its own power for the first time, a key milestone for the aircraft that’s expected to make its first flight this year.

“Air Force partners with industry to ensure we can find innovative solutions to meet our future priorities,” said Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability. “Boeing’s Loyal Wingman project is a perfect example of what this collaborative approach can achieve.”

“Seeing the prototype take to the runway for this low-speed taxi test is an exciting moment – another significant development milestone ahead of its first flight.”

Reaching a maximum speed of 14 knots (approximately 16 mph, or 26 kilometers per hour), on the ground, the aircraft demonstrated several activities while maneuvering and stopping on command.

“The low-speed taxi enabled us to verify the function and integration of the aircraft systems, including steering, braking and engine controls, with the aircraft in motion,” said Paul Ryder, Boeing Australia Flight Test manager.

Three Loyal Wingman prototypes will be the foundation for the Airpower Teaming System that Boeing will offer customers worldwide.

Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force have completed low-speed taxi testing of the first Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft, whose first flight is planned for later this year. (Boeing video)

The aircraft will fly alongside other platforms, using artificial intelligence for such teaming missions. It has advanced design and flight characteristics, including a modular nose section that’s customizable for specific needs and a conventional takeoff and landing approach suitable for many missions and runway types.

“Runway independence ensures the aircraft will be a highly flexible and adaptable system for our global customers,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director, Boeing Airpower Teaming System. “This latest test marks the first full unmanned movement of the Loyal Wingman with our Australian partners and takes us a step closer to first flight.”

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.


Loyal Wingman Taxi Testing Milestone Welcomed by BAE Systems Australia
(Source: BAE Systems; issued Oct 22, 2020)
BAE Systems Australia today congratulated the dedicated team involved in the Loyal Wingman Program in achieving the aircraft’s first taxi test.

As a substantial partner and investor in the project, BAE Systems is supplying the unmanned flight vehicle management solution and simulation capability for the Loyal Wingman being led by Boeing Australia with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

BAE Systems has more than a dozen guidance, navigation, control and software engineering experts, five with PHDs, working on the project to deliver flight control computers and navigation equipment along with a team of supporting engineers who are developing a special payload for the aircraft.

The team is thrilled to have witnessed such a significant step in Australian aviation history as the first military aircraft, developed and built in Australia in more than 50 years, travelled down the runway.

It was an incredibly exciting moment representing years of commitment from our team of industry leading guidance, control and software engineers.

The milestone also reflects the successful collaboration with Boeing Australia to bring a game changing defence capability to life, offering enormous potential to the RAAF as well as future export markets.

BAE Systems Australia Chief Technology Officer, Brad Yelland, said: “This is an important milestone for the program and we are pleased to be involved in bringing a new defence capability to life.

“This project highlights our commitment to lead the development of new technologies developed in Australia.

“BAE Systems Australia has worked with Boeing on a number of projects over more than three decades. Both companies have a shared national heritage having partnered on a number of early unmanned flight vehicles.

“The partnership and latest advancement highlight our combined commitment to deliver a world-leading program to the nation leveraging home-grown engineering expertise.”


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