MELBOURNE, (BM) – Australia continues to increase the capacity and combat capability of its air force. On March 2 this year, the “kangaroos” signed a contract with Boeing to purchase three Loyal Wingman drones. The exciting thing, in this case, is that the deal took place a few days after the first flight of the machine.
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Loyal Wingman is a development of the Australian branch of Boeing. The drone will be able to fly entirely autonomously and interact with fighter pilots. Sources claim that Loyal Wingman will be able to make individual decisions at some point, i.e., artificial intelligence will be present.
The first flight of the drone days ago was successful. Australian forces tested navigation and pilot skills. The drone flew at different heights. All the time, the drone was observed by an escort pilot, who gave commands – takeoff, landing, return, transportation, and more.
Kat Roberts said Loyal Wingman is a bridge that will create a connection between man and machine. According to her, the drone supports the country’s air capabilities and teaches regular soldiers different and non-standard thinking. Kat Roberts is the Vice Marshal and Chief of the Australian Air Force.
For the first time in Australia
Loyal Wingman is closely monitored in Australia. There is a reason – it turns out that this drone is the first fighter aircraft designed and manufactured in the last 50 years by the kangaroo. More than 35 companies are involved in its production, including BAE Systems Australia, RUAG Australia, AME Systems, and Ferra Engineering.
Loyal Wingman or ATS has a length of 38 feet with a wingspan of 24 feet. The drone is designed with a movable nose, which allows the integration of various loads and sensors. Its range is just over 2,000 miles.
Loyal Wingman in the United States
The Australian drone’s success is so great that Washington is taking steps to operate it by the US military. Pentagon sources say Loyal Wingman is part of the US Skyborg program. This program was developed and operated by the US Air Force.
According to Jared Hayes, Boeing’s senior director of autonomous aviation and technology, Loyal Wingman will be slightly modified to meet the Pentagon’s requirements.
We remind you that at the end of last year, the participants in the Skyborg program’s development received funding. The program itself should give the United States cheap, autonomous, and artificially uncrewed aerial vehicles. Their function, in addition to the survey, will be combat together with crewed fighters.
Washington is expected to receive and begin testing the prototypes in a few months. July is set for the first flight tests of drones.
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