Boeing has announced that the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) first Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft completed low-speed taxi test for the first time.
This marks a major milestone towards the aircraft’s first flight.
Boeing Australia Flight Test manager Paul Ryder said: “The low-speed taxi enabled us to verify the function and integration of the aircraft systems, including steering, braking and engine controls, with the aircraft in motion.”
The aircraft attained a maximum speed of 14k on the ground and carried out different activities while it manoeuvred and stopped on command.
Boeing is currently developing three prototypes as part of a concept demonstrator called the Loyal Wingman-Advanced Development Program in partnership with the RAAF.
It will operate along with the other platforms with the help of artificial intelligence for teaming missions.
It features advanced design and flight characteristics such as modular nose section that can be customised according to requirements.
Additionally, it offers a conventional take-off and landing approach that can be used for different missions and runway types.
RAAF Air Force Capability head air vice-marshal Cath Roberts said: “Airforce partners with industry to ensure we can find innovative solutions to meet our future priorities.
“Boeing’s Loyal Wingman project is a perfect example of what this collaborative approach can achieve.”
“Seeing the prototype take to the runway for this low-speed taxi test is an exciting moment, another significant development milestone ahead of its first flight.”
Last month, Boeing Australia completed an engine start on the first Loyal Wingman aircraft.