The drone took to the sky for the first time at the Woomera Range Complex in South Australia at an unspecified date, under the supervision of a Boeing test pilot. We are not told how long the flight lasted, but the aerospace company does say the Loyal Wingman flew on a pre-determined route at different speeds and altitudes.
“The Loyal Wingman’s first flight is a major step in this long-term, significant project for the Air Force and Boeing Australia, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the successful test,” said in a statement Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, Royal Australian Air Force Head of Air Force Capability.
“The Loyal Wingman project is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams. Through this project we are learning how to integrate these new capabilities to complement and extend air combat and other missions.”
Once testing is completed (no timeframe was provided), the Loyal Wingman will enter production in the state of Queensland. Also known as the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (BATS), it will roll off the production lines as a 38-feet(11.7-m) long machine capable of traveling 2,000 nautical miles (2,300 miles or 3,700 km) in a single outing.
The thing will be packed with sensors and artificial intelligence to govern its decisions. Other similar machines will be made by the end of the year and then tested together.