U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing confirmed on Tuesday (2), with the Australian Department of Defense and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) jointly developed the unmanned warplane “Loyal Wingman” (Loyal Wingman), last month 28 completed the first test flight in Woomera, South Australia (Woomera).
Under the monitoring of ground control tower personnel, the Loyal Wingman successfully took off and tried different speeds and altitudes to verify flight functions and performance, and finally landed successfully. The Loyal Wingman is the first Australian military aircraft to be designed and built locally in 50 years, and RAAF plans to purchase three of the same aircraft to fly alongside the F35 stealth fighter. The Loyal Wingman was originally designed for electronic warfare and to replace pilots on reconnaissance missions in dangerous environments.
The Loyal Wingman is about 11.6 meters long, has a range of 3,700 kilometers and can carry weapons and act as a shield to protect other more expensive manned aircraft. Boeing said the Loyal Wingman will test flying in formation with manned aircraft later this year, with up to 16 of the same type flying alongside manned aircraft.
With the successful test flight of the Loyal Wingman, the Australian government announced an additional A$115 million (HK$690 million) budget on top of the A$40 million (HK$240 million) in research and development funding.
The Loyal Wingman landed successfully.