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https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/world/au ... r-BB13HNP3
Australia starts flying AI-guided drones
may 7 2020
SYDNEY: Australia has its first “loyal wingman.”
Boeing Australia presented the country’s Air Force on Tuesday with a prototype of a jet-powered drone that they hope will one day fly alongside manned warplanes while bringing artificial intelligence to the battlefield.
The Loyal Wingman, at 38-foot-long and with a range of 3,218.6 kilometers, would “use artificial intelligence (AI) to fly independently, or in support of manned aircraft, while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft,” according to Boeing’s website on the project.
The drones will be able to engage in electronic warfare as well as intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions and swap quickly between those roles, according to Boeing.
The aircraft delivered in Sydney on Tuesday is the first of three prototypes Boeing is producing. It’s also the first aircraft “to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years,” Boeing said in a statement.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the drones would protect the country’s pricier combat aircraft like F-35 stealth fighters and their pilots in the future, and drone production will help with a current crisis, fighting the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The Loyal Wingman program has 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,” Morrison said in a statement.
The Australian government says it has invested about $40 million into the project. The Australian government calls the Boeing-RAAF tie-up “a partnership,” but has not provided specifics on actual ownership of the prototypes.
Boeing says the project represents its largest investment in unmanned aircraft outside the United States, though it does not give specific figures, and it touts it as customizable for export as the foundation of its “Airpower Teaming System.”
“We are proud to take this significant step forward with the Royal Australian Air Force and show the potential for smart unmanned teaming to serve as a force multiplier,” said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Systems for Boeing Defense, Space and Security.