The Boeing Loyal Wingman UAV carried out low-speed taxiing tests to verify the proper operation of all its systems, prior to the first flight, which should take place before the end of this year.
Taxiing at 26 km/h
The Boeing Loyal Wingman UAV, which is under development with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), recently moved to use its own power for the first time, a key milestone for the aircraft, which is expected to make its first flight this year. "Seeing the prototype make it to the runway for this low-speed taxiing test is an exciting moment, another milestone in development before its first flight," said RAAF Air Vice Marshal Cath Roberts, who is also RAAF Chief Capability Officer. Reaching a maximum ground speed of 14 knots (about 26 kilometres per hour), the aircraft performed several activities while manoeuvring and stopping on command.
Checking all aircraft systems
"Low-speed taxiing allowed us to verify the function and integration of the aircraft systems, including braking and engine controls, with the Loyal Wingman in motion," said Paul Ryder, director of flight testing for Boeing Australia. Three Loyal Wingman prototypes will be used. The aircraft will fly alongside other platforms, using artificial intelligence for such team missions. It has advanced design and flight features, including a modular nose section that is customizable for specific needs and a conventional take-off and landing approach suitable for many missions and runway types. "This latest test marks the first full unmanned movement of Loyal Wingman with our Australian partners and brings us closer to first flight," said Shane Arnott, Program Director, Boeing Airpower Teaming System.