Global aviation giant Boeing has chosen Toowoomba in Queensland as the preferred location for an uncrewed‑aircraft production facility, which will be the first outside of North America.
Boeing Australia will establish the facility at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct to produce and assemble the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, also known as the Loyal Wingman, subject to defence orders.
The aircraft made its first flight in February 2021, and would be the first military combat aircraft designed to be developed and manufactured in Australia in 50 years.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszcuk said the partnership will create new opportunities for Toowoomba and boost the state’s confidence in advanced manufacturing.
“By working with the private sector to invest in advanced manufacturing, we’ll continue to create jobs and opportunities for Queenslanders,” Palaszcuk said.
“In choosing Wellcamp Airport, Boeing have taken an important step towards delivering their purpose-built final assembly facility.
“This has the potential to greatly improve our state’s advanced manufacturing capability and help shape a workforce of Queenslanders with the skills to build some of the world’s most cutting-edge aircraft.”
Wagner Corporation expect the facility build will support around 300 construction jobs, with at least 70 high-skilled advanced manufacturing jobs to be created once the facility is operational.
Queensland minister for manufacuturing, Cameron Dick, said Boeing’s decision reinforces the strength of its relationship with Queensland of almost 25 years.
“This announcement follows our success with Australia’s first commercial drone flight testing facility at Cloncurry Airport last December, of which Boeing was a first user,” Dick said.
“It’s expected the project could generate up to $1 billion dollars for Queensland’s economy over 10 years, with more than just defence industries to benefit.”
The uncrewed aircraft is designed to operate as a team, using artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of crewed and uncrewed platforms.
Selecting Wellcamp Airport as the preferred location for Loyal Wingman assembly indicated Boeing’s global focus and support for Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities, supply chain and export opportunities.
Boeing Defence Australia vice president and managing director, Scott Carpendale, said he was confident of the production outlook for the innovative aircraft.
“We’re thinking long-term about this investment, which could assist Australia to gain future work share in other global defence and aerospace opportunities, in addition to the Loyal Wingman assembly,” Carpendale said.
“The Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct location is attractive due to its access to a flight line, clear flying days, commercial flight access from major cities and ability to support the rapid pace at which the Airpower Teaming System program is growing.”
Wagner Corporation’s sustainable construction methods align with Boeing’s focus on sustainable aerospace, incorporating renewable technology and human-centric designs.
Boeing Australia is currently developing six aircrafts in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), with flight testing ongoing.
Visit boeing.com for more information on Boeing Defence, Space and Security.