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.
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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.