Artificial Intelligence: Boeing Delivers AI-Enabled, Jet-Powered Drone to Australian Air Force

This is the first of three prototypes deliverable by Boeing Australia.

The Loyal Wingman, an unmanned jet-powered drone, could soon be flying alongside existing manned Australian military aircraft in teaming missions controlled by its artificial intelligence capabilities. Boeing Australia developed the drone for the Royal Australian Air Force. It is the first to be designed, engineered, and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years. (CNN)

The prototype, the first of three, will move into ground testing, followed by taxi and first test flight later this year.

Loyal Wingman

Boeing built the drone using a digital model that was complete with structures, systems, capabilities, and full life-cycle requirements.

Furthermore, Boeing assembled the aircraft using advanced manufacturing processes and manufactured it with its largest-ever resin-infused single composite piece.

It is a part of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, which uses new, unmanned, AI-powered aircraft envisaged as “force multipliers.”  They are designed to work as a smart team with existing elite airpower systems to complement and extend airborne missions.

The Loyal Wingman is 11.5 m long and has a range of 2,000 miles. It will use artificial intelligence to fly independently or in support of manned aircraft. All the while it will maintain a safe distance from other aircraft.

It will provide fighter-like performance, and carry sensor packages on-board to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and technical early warning missions.

Unmanned teaming concept

“We look forward to getting the aircraft into flight testing and proving out the unmanned teaming concept,” said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Systems for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “We see global allies with those same mission needs, which is why this program is so important to advancing the development of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.”

Robotic “wingman” vehicles and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory

DailyAlts wrote about this unmanned teaming concept being used by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in the development of AI-powered, unmanned robotic vehicles controlled by manned tanks.

“Manned vehicles will control a number of combat vehicles, not small ones but large ones,” said Dr. Brandon Perelman, Scientist and Engineer, Army Research Laboratory, Combat Capabilities Development Command, Army Futures Command. “In the future, we are going to be incorporating robotic systems that are larger, more like the size of tanks.”

Related Story:  Artificial Intelligence: AI-Controlled Robot Tanks Soon

Image credit: Boeing                                                  

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