An unmanned aircraft Boeing developed for the Australian air force took its first flight to demonstrate system functionality and design for crewed-uncrewed teaming missions.
The Loyal Wingman used its own power to complete a takeoff and flew at different altitudes and speed levels along a predetermined path after completion of taxi tests that showcased pilot-vehicle interface, control and navigation functions, the company said Monday.
A test pilot monitored the drone through a control station located at South Australia's Woomera Range Complex.
“We're honored to be opening this part of aviation's future with the Royal Australian Air Force, and we look forward to showing others how they also could benefit from our loyal wingman capabilities," said Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing's defense, space and security business and a 2021 Wash100 awardee.
The company developed Loyal Wingman to serve as the foundation for an artificial intelligence-based military aircraft platform dubbed the Airpower Teaming System.
Boeing intends for the system to operate with manned and unmanned assets with complementary missions and plans to conduct teaming flights later this year.
More than 35 industry participants in Australia helped the planemaker complete the first Loyal Wingman using a digital twin process and other model-based engineering approaches.