F/A-18 Fighter's New Best Friend: Boeing Is Prepping an Armed Wingman Drone
Boeing is preparing to test prototype wingman drones, apparently at a secretive site in the Australian Outback
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- Boeing is preparing to test prototype wingman drones, apparently at a secretive site in the Australian Outback.
The Australian subsidiary of the Chicago-based plane-maker is developing the so-called "Airpower Teaming System" using company funds as well as $27 million from the Australian military.
Boeing revealed the 38-feet-long Loyal Wingman drone at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon in February 2019. The drone has the distinctive, sharp angles of a radar-evading stealth aircraft.
But the most novel part of the Airpower Teaming System/Loyal Wingman is invisible. Algorithms and radio datalinks allow human operators aboard manned planes or on the ground to command the highly autonomous drones.
"The idea of a robot wingman is that it can keep pace with manned planes, but be tasked out for parts of the mission that you wouldn't send a human teammate to do," said Peter W. Singer, author of Wired for War...
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