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Boeing presents first Loyal Wingman drone aircraft to Australia

Boeing Australia has built the first of three Loyal Wingman prototype aircraft, which will serve as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the global defense market. Photo courtesy of Boeing
Boeing Australia has built the first of three Loyal Wingman prototype aircraft, which will serve as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the global defense market. Photo courtesy of Boeing

May 5 (UPI) -- Boeing announced Tuesday it has presented its first unmanned aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force.

The Loyal Wingman is the first aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years, and is the company's largest investment in a drone outside of the United States, according to the company.

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"This is a truly historic moment for our country and for Australian defence innovation," Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said in a statement. "The Loyal Wingman will be pivotal to exploring the critical capabilities our Air Force needs to protect our nation and its allies into the future."

The aircraft uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms, and will serve as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the global defense market.

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, chief of the Royal Australian Air Force, called the rollout "an excellent example of innovation through collaboration and what can be achieved working together" with the defense industry.

"I look forward to exploring the capabilities this aircraft may bring to our existing fleet in the future," Hupfeld said.

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The Loyal Wingman prototype will now move into ground testing, with the taxi and first flight planned for later this year.

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