First Loyal Wingman fuselage assembly complete
An Australian industry team has completed major fuselage structural assembly for the first Loyal Wingman, Boeing Australia announced on 10 February.
The aircraft is one of three prototypes that will be developed as a part of the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development programme in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force.
The 38ft (11.7m) aircraft is being designed to use artificial intelligence technology to team with other manned and unmanned platforms.
This first prototype will inform production of the Airpower Teaming System (ATS), which Boeing Australia is developing for the global defence market. Customers will be able to tailor ATS sensors and systems based on their own defence and industrial objective.
The Boeing Australian industry team includes BAE Systems Australia, RUAG Australia, Ferra Engineering and AME Systems.
The next major milestone will be weight on wheels, when the fuselage structure moves from the assembly jig to the aircraft’s own landing gear to continue systems installation and functional testing. The aircraft is expected to complete its first flight this year.
Shane Arnott, program director, Boeing ATS, said: ‘This is an exciting milestone for the development programme, and the Australian aerospace industry, as we progress with production of the first military aircraft to be developed in Australia in more than 50 years.’
More from Air Warfare
The new order followed a 2022 announcement that Saab would modernise the Hungarian Air Force’s current fleet of 14 JAS 39C/D Gripen fighter aircraft.
Lockheed Martin has revealed insights into the latest developments surrounding the F-35 programme, from pending Letters of Acceptance (LoAs) with Israel and Greece, to ongoing Tech Refresher 3 upgrades.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) operates a fleet of four C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters and received its aircraft between 2008–12.
More than 300 C-130Js have been delivered worldwide, with more than 200 in service with US forces. Countries have been searching for upgrades with Norway this week receiving its first of type upgraded to new standard.