The Government of Queensland in Australia has announced that that the state has become the primary final assembly facility for Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS).

Also known as Loyal Wingman aircraft, ATS is an unmanned aircraft being developed for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

It is the first aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in the country in over 50 years.

The move is expected to generate additional jobs, opportunities for supply and stimulus to the defence industry.

Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “Our investment in this advanced manufacturing project will provide critical skills for suppliers, academia and Boeing, and culminate in Queensland becoming the primary final assembly facility for The Boeing Airpower Teaming System, conditional on orders.

“Supporting this project is a significant investment in the Queensland defence and manufacturing industries and will strengthen ties between Australia and the global defence market.

“The unmanned teaming aircraft is Boeing’s first military aircraft to be designed and developed outside the US and uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms.”

Last month, Boeing Australia completed the engine start on the first Loyal Wingman aircraft.

This was carried out as part of the ground testing and preparations for its maiden flight, expected later this year.

In May, the RAAF unveiled the aircraft. In April, Boeing Australia achieved two more development milestones with the first prototype of Loyal Wingman.

In a separate development, Boeing has been awarded a contract to construct a satellite payload prototype and develop a resilient and secure satellite communications architecture for the US Space Force’s Evolved Strategic SATCOM (ESS) programme.