26 September 2023

New Aussie plane breaks 50-year barrier

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The first military aircraft designed and built in Australia in more than 50 years has been rolled out as part of a partnership between the Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing Australia.

The Australian-designed and built Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program, is Boeing’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said the new capability would help protect and support Australia’s most valuable Defence aircraft and the pilots who fly in them.

“We’re investing to enhance the agility and capability of the Australian Defence Force so we can protect our nation and our allies,” Mr Morrison said.

“It means Australia can sharpen its edge and prepare for the future.”

He said the Loyal Wingman program had helped support around 100 high-tech jobs in Australia.

“Such projects will be critical to bolster growth and support jobs as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Morrison said.

He said the Loyal Wingman would have a range of more than 3,700 kilometres, enabling Defence to better understand how these types of aircraft can be used as a force-multiplier, helping to project power forward while keeping manned capabilities out of harm’s way.

Minister for Defence, Senator Linda Reynolds said the program would examine how autonomous unmanned aircraft could support existing manned aircraft, such as the Joint Strike Fighters, Super Hornets and Growlers.

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