Australian-designed unmanned aircraft to be developed with Boeing

The Australian government will partner with Boeing to advance an initial concept for an Australian-designed and developed unmanned aircraft system.

Announced on February 27, Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne said the partnership will produce a concept demonstrator of a low cost unmanned ‘Loyal Wingman’ aircraft, capable of operating in concert with Air Force’s fifth generation air combat capability.

“There is significant value investing in innovative, future leaning initiatives like this, particularly in the early conceptual stages where Defence can explore concepts and define the role such capabilities can play in our national security framework.

“This will be Boeing’s first unmanned aircraft designed and engineered in Australia and represents the company’s largest investment of its kind outside of the United States,” said Pyne.

Minister for Defence Industry, Steven Ciobo, said Boeing will seek to team with large, medium and small Australian businesses and partner with research organisations, including universities and the Defence Science and Technology Group.

“The development and demonstration of this air vehicle will create around 100 new high-technology jobs in aerospace engineering and design in Australia, as well as wider job opportunities across the supply chain,” said Ciobo.

“This proposal could lead to another exciting step forward in Australia’s defence export strategy and provide our allies with critical capabilities based on Australian ingenuity.”

Defence will invest about $10 million per year, up to $40m to evolve development of this concept.