Queensland will be the final production home for the Loyal Wingman unmanned defence aircraft – the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
“The creation of additional new aerospace capability could see unmanned defence aircraft produced here by the middle of the decade, with prototype testing and certification taking place before that,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “Our investment in this advanced manufacturing project will provide critical skills for suppliers, academia and Boeing, and culminate in Queensland becoming the primary final assembly facility for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, conditional on orders.
“Supporting this project is a significant investment in the Queensland defence and manufacturing industries and will strengthen ties between Australia and the global defence market.
“The unmanned teaming aircraft is Boeing’s first military aircraft to be designed and developed outside the US and uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms.”
The first aircraft prototype, called the Loyal Wingman, was unveiled with the RAAF in May this year. ADM's Deputy Editor Nigel Pittaway later revealed that taxi trials were taking place at an undisclosed location.
Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific President Brendan Nelson said the partnership with the Queensland government to develop an advanced manufacturing capability was a significant milestone for the company.
“It’s one that will build cutting-edge skills to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in Queensland,” he said.
“This includes introducing technologies such as advanced robotics; investment in universities, small-to-medium enterprises and start-up companies; as well as creating global export opportunities for Australia’s supply chain.
“This investment could unlock global defence and aerospace opportunities for Queensland to gain future work share in other Boeing programs.”