Tag Archives: Boeing Australia

Flight Testing

Boeing Australia has expanded its flight-test program of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, with two aircraft successfully completing separate flight missions at the Woomera Range Complex recently.

Loyal Wingman
Loyal Wingman test flights continue to expand the flight envelope (Boeing Photo)

The first Loyal Wingman aircraft developed with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) demonstrated a range of key characteristics during the test flights to continue to expand the flight envelope. A second aircraft also successfully completed its first flight mission.

«It is so exciting seeing two aircraft in the air as the Loyal Wingman continues to excel in the flight-test program», said Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Cath Roberts, RAAF Head of Air Force Capability. «This opens up significant capability agility for Air Force, particularly with features such as the reconfigurable nose».

«We’re heavily engaged in the payload development and the element of surprise that it gives us in the battlespace. You never really know what’s in the nose», said AVM Roberts.

Throughout the flight-test missions, the teams gathered aircraft performance data that will be used to inform and refine the digital twin of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, with the view to accelerate the aircraft’s development where possible. The digital twin models the system’s entire lifecycle, from design and development to production and sustainment, and contributes to speed and first-time quality.

«We’re in a steady rhythm of flight testing on the way to mission and operational testing, enabling Boeing Australia, RAAF and our Australian industry team of more than 35 companies to progressively advance the flight characteristics and capabilities of the uncrewed teaming system», said Glen Ferguson, director of Boeing Airpower Teaming System – Australia and International. «I’d like to extend my thanks to our capability partner BAE Systems Australia, and to RUAG Australia for their specific roles in this latest test block».

The flight tests of aircraft one included the first time the landing gear was raised and engaged. RUAG Australia supplied the landing gear systems to the aircraft, and BAE Systems Australia was integral in the design, supply and support of the flight control and navigation systems tested as part of the flights.

«This is a great achievement for homegrown, Australian autonomous capabilities», said BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan. «Our partnership underpins a shared commitment to develop sovereign technologies and deliver a cutting-edge program for the nation’s defence».

The first batch of Loyal Wingman aircraft are serving as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for various global defence customers. The aircraft will fly alongside other platforms, using artificial intelligence to team with existing crewed and uncrewed assets to complement mission capabilities.

Taxi Test

Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have completed the first high-speed taxi test of the Loyal Wingman in preparation for first flight.

Loyal Wingman
Boeing Australia’s Loyal Wingman displays its orange flight-test livery (Boeing photo)

Boeing test personnel monitored the aircraft’s performance and instrumentation from a ground control station to verify the functionality while the vehicle reached accelerated speeds. The uncrewed aircraft has been undergoing low-, medium-, and high-speed taxi testing at a remote test location in Australia.

«Our test program is progressing well, and we are happy with the ground test data we have collected to date», said Paul Ryder, Boeing Flight Test manager. «We are working with the Air Warfare Centre to complete final test verifications to prepare for flight testing in the new year».

Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force will resume final taxi tests and preparations for flight in early 2021 when the range reopens.

RAAF Head of Air Force Capability Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts said seeing the aircraft in person during the December trials had been extraordinary.

«There is something very special about testing an aircraft that takes technology to the next level. It is iconic in its own way», said Roberts. «Experiencing the enthusiasm of the Boeing and Air Force team reminded me of my early career testing aircraft».

«This is what innovation is all about – working together to achieve many firsts», she said.

More than 35 Australian suppliers on the Australian industry team have contributed to the aircraft development, including investment partner BAE Systems Australia, which has been embedded with the Boeing test team on-site.

«In the past year alone, we have made amazing strides on this aircraft, taking it from a fuselage to a finished aircraft that has undergone rigorous testing», said Doctor Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. «Our focus now is on conducting a safe and secure flight-test regimen for the Loyal Wingman program».

Boeing Uncrewed Loyal Wingman Conducts First High-Speed Taxi Test