Boeing Australia’s ‘loyal wingman’ conducts maiden sortie.

Bron: FlightGlobal

Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have conducted the maiden flight of the Airpower Teaming System (ATS) loyal wingman aircraft.The maiden sortie involved the unmanned aircraft flying a pre-set course at different speeds and altitudes to assess the design’s flight functionality and performance, says Boeing. A Boeing test pilot monitored the flight from a ground control station at the Woomera test range.

“The Loyal Wingman’s first flight is a major step in this long-term, significant project for the air force and Boeing Australia, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the successful test,” said Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, RAAF head of air force capability. “The Loyal Wingman project is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams.” Boeing Australia had originally planned to conduct the first flight in late 2020, but in December the company said this would be pushed back to 2021 when the test range would reopen. The ATS has been developed rapidly. The first flight came just two years after a mock-up of the design was unveiled at the Avalon Airshow on 27 February 2019. While the RAAF clearly supports the project, the ATS has yet to secure formal orders. The ATS is envisaged as using artificial intelligence (AI) to working alongside manned and unmanned platforms.