Loyal Wingman Finishes First Taxi Test

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Boeing’s Loyal Wingman unmanned military aircraft successfully completed its initial low-speed taxi test this week, marking the first time the aircraft has moved under its own power. During the test, the prototype reached a speed of 14 knots while the team verified systems integration and functions including steering, braking and engine controls. According to Boeing, three Loyal Wingman prototypes will provide the foundation for the company’s Airpower Teaming System, which will employ artificial intelligence-driven aircraft to “complement and extend airborne missions” conducted with existing military aircraft.

“Runway independence ensures the aircraft will be a highly flexible and adaptable system for our global customers,” said Boeing Airpower Teaming System program director Shane Arnott. “This latest test marks the first full unmanned movement of the Loyal Wingman with our Australian partners and takes us a step closer to first flight.”

The Loyal Wingman is approximately 38 feet long, has a range of more than 2,000 NM and is capable of carrying sensor packages for missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and tactical early warning operations. The aircraft is being developed by Boeing’s Australia team in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is expected to fly for the first time later this year.

Video: Boeing

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Kate O’Connor works as a senior editor at AVweb. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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