Boeing Australia announced that the Loyal Wingman uncrewed aircraft has conducted the first flight test.
Carried out along with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the aircraft flew under the supervision of a Boeing test pilot using its own power.
During the flight, it flew a pre-determined route at various speeds and altitudes. This allowed the team to evaluate its functionality and showcase design performance.
It was monitored by the test pilot from a ground control station at the Woomera Range Complex in Australia.
Loyal Wingman is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being developed by Boeing Australia in collaboration with the RAAF.
RAAF Air Force Capability head air vice-marshal Cath Roberts said: “The Loyal Wingman’s first flight is a major step in this long-term, significant project for the airforce and Boeing Australia, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the successful test.
“The Loyal Wingman project is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams.
“Through this project, we are learning how to integrate these new capabilities to complement and extend air combat and other missions.”
Boeing noted that the first Loyal Wingman is being used as a foundation for the company’s ‘Airpower Teaming System’.
Furthermore, additional Loyal Wingman jets are currently under development, with teaming test flights scheduled to be conducted later this year.
Boeing defence space and security president and CEO Leanne Caret said: “Boeing and Australia are pioneering fully integrated combat operations by crewed and uncrewed aircraft.
“We’re honoured 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.”