The Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing have teamed up for their first test flight of a pilotless fighter-like jet in South Australia. The “Loyal Wingman” provides new military strategies through its autonomous technology. Australia and the aerospace giant announced Tuesday the successful flight, which took place on Saturday. Loyal Wingman took off under its own power and flew on a predetermined route over the Australian desert, before flying at various different speeds and altitudes to test its systems and demonstrating the performance of design. The fact that the jet is functional and effective without a pilot is key to new approaches in military strategy — with this particular uncrewed aircraft designed to provide air support to a human pilot in another plane. “The heart of this program is the autonomous systems, being a part of a manned, unmanned team approach,” said the chief of the Royal Australian Air Force, Mel Hupfeld. The fighter-like jet is 11.6 meters long and has a nautical mile range of 3,704 km (roughly 2,300 miles). It can carry weapons and provide protection for more expensive manned fighter jets. Attracting attention The success and relatively low costs of autonomous technology has attracted the attention of other militaries. Britain signed… Read full this story
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